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Why Is Identity Theft Such a Big Problem?

14th November 2009
By ChuckLin1 in Legal
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Why is it that ten million people in the U.S. alone are victimized by identity theft each year? It seems like the more obsessed with security our society becomes, the less secure we actually make ourselves. It is a great irony that in the days when your identity was established by your good name and signature, identity theft didn't exist. In this day and age when you need a card or number for everything, the crime is epidemic.

Why? Because it is easy to steal a number, and it is difficult to get caught. Add to that the fact that the penalties for identity theft are fairly weak, throw in a dash of desperate people in a crummy economy, and you've got yourself a recipe for a crime wave.

And make no mistake about it: This is a crime wave. All kinds of criminals are stealing the identities of honest, hardworking citizens. Terrorists use stolen identities to make themselves harder to track. Sex offenders use stolen identities to blend into communities. Felons use stolen identities to get jobs... and guns. Identity theft is not just for credit card fraud nowadays. In fact, only about 20 percent of identity theft involves credit card fraud.

Once someone becomes a victim of idenity theft, their life can become a living you-know-what in so many ways. It can take years to undo damage to one's credit rating. It can take a lifetime to repair the damage of finding out that your name is associated with crimes you did not commit. All in all, the plight of the identity theft victim is not an enviable position.

What about the perpetrators? Who are these people and what happens to them when they get caught? Well, first of all, not many of them get caught. Second, when they are caught, they are usually slapped on the wrist. The maximum penalty for "aggravated identity theft" is only 15 years in prison, and it is seldom imposed. As for what kinds of people carry out identity theft, well, they range from dumb kids trying to get new video games to terrorists. Many times they are the absolute scum of the Earth. Sex offenders and pedophiles routinely use stolen identities.

In short: Worry about this. This is worth worrying about. I hope you figure that out before you become a victim and take measures to protect yourself.

Check out my identity theft protection blog for more detailed information on all claims made above, and learn how to prevent identity theft.
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About the Author
Occupation: Business Process Consultant
Chuck Lin helps small businesses to optimize their operations.
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