Over the past few weeks, major banks have had their websites hacked, "errors" have occurred on the stock exchange, and even countries are claiming they are under cyber attack. Times are changing and our worlds are becoming more and more dependant on our virtual accounts. But how safe are we?
Thieves have stolen my credit card numbers and went on foreign shopping sprees, taken over my email accounts and sent out messages to friends and colleagues phishing for pertinent information, and my parents had their entire bank account wiped out by identity thieves.
It can happen to anyone and it can happen at anytime. Consider the following statistics:
- Households earning $100K+ per year have the highest identity fraud rate at 7.4%
- Having your identy stolen costs the average person $1,513
- 11.6 million adults were victimss of identity fraud in 2011, with losses of $18 billion
- 6.6% of victims are smart phone users
- 6.8% of victims are social media users who click on the applications
- 8.2% of vicitms are are social media users who "checked in" using their smartphone GPS
- 10.1% of victims are LinkedIn users
A professional hacker can access your passowrd in .000224 seconds if it contains 6 characters with no symbol, with 10 characters and one symbol it takes up to 20 days for them to break in.
Once they have access to one of your accounts, they dig quickly to find access to others. I know that from personal experience as I was locked out of multiple email accounts and had bank and other personal accounts tampered with.
You don't want that to be you! How hack friendly is your password? Now is the time to make sure it's beefy enough to at least stump the thieves for a few days.
You can also go a step further and look into programs like LifeLock. LifeLocks provides its customers with identity theft protection through state of the art technology and provides information identity theft and current threats.
Remember the Nigeria email scams? Or the fake paypal/ebay phishing scams? Those have evolved and new scams are created all the time.
I was lucky to catch the credit card and email thefts early. And even luckier that no permanent damage was done. But how much better would lit have been to be protected by LifeLock from the beginning. It's something that I'm looking into.
I would love to hear your experiences with identity theft and/or if you've ever used LifeLock's services. We can't be too careful anymore. For more information, check out LifeLock on Facebook.