Every move you make on the Internet leaves a trail – a trail of data. It feels like every other day, news reports announce all over the media that are security online is more and more at risk – leaving the door open for identity thieves and other cyber criminals to steal your passwords, your credit or debit card information, your social security number and more.
Not only are Americans growing increasingly wary of cyber criminals hunting for their private information, they are also concerned with increased government surveillance on the part of the NSA (National Security Agency). This news has spawned widespread interest in products and services that used to only be utilized by technology geeks, as ordinary citizens scramble to encrypt their information and cloak their online presence.
In 2013, over 13 million people were victims of identity theft in the United States alone. The total amount stolen added up to $18 billion according to reports from financial consultant Javelin Strategy & Research. Not only did thieves steal billions of dollars from unsuspecting people on the internet, but according to Javelin Strategy & Research, these thieves are no longer just targeting credit card information – instead, they are running up mobile phone bills, infiltrating peoples eBay and Amazon accounts, and even stealing medical insurance information from people.
Fortunately, half of the victims of identity theft in 2013 were able to resolve their problems in less than 24 hours, and another 10% were able to clear up the problems in less than one week. But those who use the internet to make purchases, file their taxes, and sign up for health insurance need to take more steps to protect themselves.
Last year, there were over 1,000 data breaches in the United States – where private information pertaining to millions of individuals was up for grabs for cyber criminals everywhere.
To protect yourself from these cyber thieves, be sure to update your passwords regularly, be careful of where you shop online and think twice before entering any important personal information on any particular website.