ID theft victims pay average of more than $1,800 for damages

According to Bureau of Justice statistics, 5 percent of U.S. citizens over the age of 16 fell victim to identity theft within a two-year period. More than half of those affected were victims of credit card fraud.

Nationwide, one out of four of those victims faced out-of-pocket expenses of, on average, $1,870. Total losses overall exceeded $17 billion dollars during that same two-year period.

Identity theft victims are being scammed in a number of ways, including the average, like stolen mail or dumpster diving, or advanced scams like e-mail phishing and hacking.

The BOJ study also showed that people ages 65 and older are least likely to be victimized, while those aged 35 and under are much more likely to be targeted, as well as those with incomes of at least $75,000.

How can you protect yourself? Rent a post office box or buy a locking mailbox. Shred anything that bears your personal information before you dispose of it. Protect your home computer with anti-virus and firewall software. Don’t open unsolicited e-mails or click on the links they contain.

You should also pay close attention to bank and credit card statements. If you see any questionable or fraudulent charges, report them immediately.

But the best thing you can do, since you can’t monitor your information 24/7, is to find someone who can. And that someone is LifeLock.

LifeLock is the only proactive identity theft protection service – LifeLock will monitor for any credit or non-credit related threats to your information, and if any such threats are found, you’ll be notified immediately. This will stop identity theft before any damage can be done.

So arm yourself against identity theft – do the things you should do, and sign up with LifeLock. It’s just the one-two punch you need.

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