If a person's number one fear is public speaking, identity theft must run a close second. We have all heard the stories of Aunt Millie, who purchased a widget online only to find that after the transaction occurred, her credit card is used to buy surfboards in Cocoa Beach while she's still at home in Cleveland.
While problems such as these do occur, they are not as widespread as the public perceives. A new joint study by the Better Business Bureau and Javelin Strategy & Research found that more often than not it's a lost wallet and not hackers that's to blame for identity theft.
When surveyed, respondents believed that identity theft from online transactions happened in 37% of all cases, but in reality, this number is closer to 11%. By far the highest percentage of identity theft victims can thank a family member, close relative or a lost wallet... not the internet.
The study further shows that web savvy individuals risk far less monetary damage when identity theft does occur than their paper statement counterparts. Internet account management allows for real time analysis of one's financial records. Persons who rely on month end statements to check for account anomalies stand to lose far more due to the increase in time from the theft to the reporting of that crime.
So before you blame phishing or hackers, check your purse or back pocket. The fault for your identity theft nightmare may have dropped out accidentally and the guilty culprit is you.
For more information on this study, please click here.