ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • Economics

Cultural Competency: Could You Be The Next Victim of Fraud or Identity Theft?

Updated on February 24, 2014

Introduction

It was ingrained in both my parents as immigrant children, to be American, buy American, speak American, dream American, and trust anything American. That was the attitude of the majority of immigrants and one's background was based on reputation, trust, and honesty. Immigrants were close-knit and trusting of others who would help them out. Having laid this backdrop, this is still the dream of most who come here - that we are the greatest nation in the world. While we still are, with the advent of the internet and the convenience of enhanced global communications has come, regrettably, more corruption of the society that we came to know and trust. The following is therefore a cautionary tale, not just for those who come with the hope of becoming an American citizen, but for all of us to take note, be careful, and although it may be hard to do: be less trusting and a little more savvy.

That Was Then, This Is Now

In 2012, according to the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov), there were 2.1 million cases reported in the United States of illegal activity regarding people's personal information. Of those 2.1 million cases, 52% consisted of Fraud and 18% were cases involving the theft of someone's identity.

It is important to note that only 72% of all cases were reported to Police, meaning that there were 28% more cases that went unreported, undetected, and those perpetrators will never be caught.

Names and Ranks - Topping the Charts For All The Wrong Reasons*

Country Rankings - Second to the United States, reported as having the most cases of these types, was Canada, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, and India as the top four countries with the most fraud after the United States. China had the sixth most cases reported, followed by Jamaica, Spain, Mexico, and the Philippines, ranking as tenth.

State Rankings - Florida was #1 in Fraud in 2012, followed by Georgia and Maryland. Florida and Georgia also have the distinction of ranking #1 and #2 in ID Theft, with California coming in at #3.

City Rankings - The cities with the most per-capita ID Theft cases in 2012 were: Miami/Ft. Lauderdale/Pompano Beach as #1, followed by Naples/Marco Island in second place, and the Tampa/St. Petersburg-Clearwater area coming in third.

For Fraud cases, the metropolitan areas with the highest number of cases were Colorado Springs, CO as #1, Homosassa Springs, FL coming in second, and Myrtle Beach/Conway, SC coming in third.

*www.ftc.gov/sentinel

Fraud and Identity Theft

It is first important to distinguish between Fraud and Identity Theft (ID Theft), since many times we mistake these two terms as the same concept and use them interchangeably.

Fraud is the misuse of another's personal information for one's own benefit and is the broader term, under which the subset, ID Theft, can be found. For instance, during the month of November and December, there was a Fraud case involving the popular merchant Target, when thousands of consumers' credit card numbers were hacked into in order to steal the bank account information connected to those cards and the money in those consumers' accounts.

Identity Theft is the complete takeover of another person's personal information by another, to the extent that the perpetrator becomes the person whose information was stolen and is so convincing that the real person loses credibility and the life that he or she has built is blotted out in favor of the perpetrator. Every six minutes, according to FTC statistics, someone's identity is stolen.

The movie, Identity Theft: The Story of Michelle Brown (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mbjor2DLTg), is based on a true story about an elementary schoolteacher just starting out in her young married life, when her identity was stolen. The movie depicts the slow and steady manner in which one's identity is stolen and how the life of the real person becomes so adversely affected. This movie is significant, because Michelle Brown did not give up and her perpetrator was eventually brought to the only justice and punishment that was meted out at the time. Because of The Michelle Brown story, legislation was put in place in the late 1990's and ID Theft was deemed a federal crime instead of just a slap on the wrist, before this landmark case was introduced.

In 2013, another movie came out, starring Melissa McCarthy, also called Identity Theft, which is a comedy. With all due respect to the talented cast, this is not a subject matter that leaves very many people laughing. The Story of Michelle Brown, however, is worthy of one's time and eyesight, informing without the propaganda.

Most Common Forms Of Fraud

The most common form of fraud was carried out via email, according to FTC statistics, followed by phone calls and regular surface mail. The age breakdown for these types of fraudulent moves were as follows:

Identity Theft - People between the ages of 20 and 49 were the most likely targets of all ID Theft cases reported in 2012. This is a desirable age group, as this is the age group with the most consumers, hence a larger pool from which to pick. As well, many times, the identity of a younger person is most desirable to steal if the perpetrator is older and while this is no laughing matter, it does give meaning to the phrase: 45 is the new 30.

Fraud - People between the ages of 40 and 70 were the most likely targets of all cases reported in 2012. It is believed that at the upper range of this age level is where familiarity with the internet may drop off. People in their 70's may have not grown up using computers like a younger generation might, hence making this age range the most likely target by those who are more in the know.

How ID Theft Occurs

The problem with ID Theft is that many times it is not readily detectable before damage has been done to someone. In fact, it could be years before someone realizes that his or her ID has been stolen.

The following two most likely targets are those whose identity may be stolen without realizing it for years, even decades. The elderly are in the third most likely group.

Infants

It is currently the policy that everyone born in the United States must be issued a Social Security Number (SSN). This has been policy since the mid-1980's. Prior to that, when someone reached working age, they then applied for an SSN.

The danger of this current policy is that infants have become the easiest target of SSN fraud and ID Theft. It will be years before that child will grow up and need to use the SSN for anything other than a trip abroad or filling out a W-4 upon going to work. For this reason, infants are the easiest and most likely current target of ID Theft.

Military

According to the FTC, servicemen are the second most likely target of ID Theft. It was reported in 2012 that 37% of all retired Military officials were the targets of Benefits Fraud. Of all the cases reported in the Military of ID Theft and Fraud, 52% of all cases reported within the Military involved retired servicemen.

Steps To Take If You Suspect That Your Personal Information Has Been Compromised

CALL
CLOSE
REPORT
GO
TransUnion 1-800-680-7289
Close out all suspicious accounts
Report your suspicions to the Federal Trade Commission
Stop by your local Police to fill out a report.
EquiFax 1-800-525-6285
 
1-877-ID-THEFT
 
Experian 1-888-EXPERIAN
 
 
 

Precautions You Can Take To Be Smart and Be Safe

ALWAYS..........

1. ....when filling out a job application, depict your SSN as xxx-xx-1234, giving only the last four of your Social. If filling out an internet application that will not accept an x, use 111-11-last four.

2. ....make sure any site you go to is https://. That "s" after the http stands for secure and indicates that you are at a site that will protect your personal information.

3. ....when shopping online, put all your items in your cart and then call the company to complete your order. When you make the call, you know who you are reaching.

4. ....know who are talking to. If someone calls you and wants your information, get their number and call them back, to make sure that you are reaching a veritable establishment (and not a scammer as depicted in the "easy-peasy" ad on television).

5. .....BEST IDEA: Use prepaid credit cards for online shopping. They can be purchased at your local drugstore or grocery store for set amounts. There are sometimes specials when you buy a few worth a certain amount. The store will give you a store card worth anywhere from $10-20 to offset the activation fee.

By using these prepaid cards, if someone hacks into the card, they may steal the remaining balance on the card, but not the rest of your information. If you, however, shop online with a card that is linked to your other cards, the person hacking in not only can steal your money on that card, but has access to who you are, where you live, and your other linked accounts.

NEVER.......

6. .....give your SSN, ITIN, or PIN to anyone under any circumstances. Banking or financial institutions do not ask you for your PIN, so if you receive a message, asking for your PIN, you will automatically know that these are scammers.

MOST IMPORTANTLY - BE WELL!

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)