Identity theft is easy to prevent

Consumers can do simple (yet important) things to avoid victimization from identity theft.

Anant Naik

With the first round of holiday shopping over, you may be looking at your card balances with awe — maybe you really did buy too many TVs. It’s also possible you’ve become a victim of identity theft and fraud.
According to data from the Massachusetts Office of Public Safety and Security, a thief steals someone’s account information and goes on a shopping spree every 79 seconds, making identity theft the fastest-growing crime in the United States. Identity theft has cost the U.S. as much as $5 billion in one year, and the Bureau of Justice
Statistics finds 17.6 million residents were victims last year.
Identity theft can come in many forms, including credit card fraud, Internet fraud and mail theft. Furthermore, identity theft can damage financial institutions and businesses.
Regardless of the type of identity theft, it can cause tremendous problems. 
So as more holiday deals come by, it’s important for everyone to be vigilant if we’re going to prevent this type of crime from occurring. Identity theft takes only a minute to commit, but the resulting mess can be devastating. 
The reason why it takes so long for many of these crimes to get reported is because many people aren’t too careful about protecting themselves. 
To that end, we should all regularly monitor our bank accounts, strengthen our Internet passwords and be careful with whom we share information, like our Social Security number. These things seem like common sense, but if more of us practice them, we can help reduce the impact identity theft has on society as a whole.