ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Painful Truth of Identity Theft

Updated on November 9, 2012

Identity theft has become so common today many have taken steps to guard their financial and personal information from being stolen. But the shocking truth is, those committing these crimes may be someone the victim already knows. It’s a painful realization, but in many cases thieves have been relatives, coworkers, neighbors or employees working in private homes. Even seemingly nice people may have friends they are unaware have shady characters.

According to a survey nearly half of all victims had no idea how their information was stolen and only about 1 in 4 knew or suspected who did. Of course, there were also the usual hackers and dumpster divers going after financial documents and personal information.

However, it makes perfect sense. Those who knew the victims were aware of their daily patterns and unique identifiers such as a mother's maiden name.

But, regardless of whom a potential thief might be, measures should be taken to protect financial and personal information, especially against people one might know. There are things to look for concerning these individuals.

Do they have an addiction to drugs or gambling? A desperate need for money can turn even the closest friend or family member to crime. There are many internet gambling and pornography sites being charged to stolen credit cards, a large number belonging to family members.

There are countless other motivators. An adult taking care of an elderly mother might rationalize they need a new car to get her to doctor appointments. This type of rationalizing is common and often considered a "victimless" crime” by an identity thief. The rational being, lenders most often absorb the costs and most victims paying nothing. This view conveniently ignores the initial 28 hours average spent trying to restore financial security and emotional fallout. This can be especially devastating if the thief is a parent. Amazingly many parents who have stolen their children's Social Security numbers don’t think they’ve done anything wrong.

Then there’s deadbeats that have ruined their own credit and use another’s to get more rather than pay exorbitant interest rates to fix their own. This is in no way the end of the list. Swindlers, embezzlers and con artists lurk awaiting an opportunity. Fortunately, these thieves often give themselves away by living a life style obviously beyond their resources. Not so smart, considering the intellect needed to commit these crimes and their earnings are usually known to intended marks. They spend indiscriminately and impulsively. Younger thieves more frequently spend impulsively, not having the maturity to fully appreciate the consequences of stealing their parent’s credit card.

More likely suspects are nosy friends…those who make a nuisance of themselves inquiring about finances and other information clearly not their business. Many may be close enough to use a friend’s computer or go through personal files. One way they gain access to one’s trust is by employing the tactic of adding an intended victim as a beneficiary to a life insurance or retirement account. Of course, to add somebody as a beneficiary they need a social security number.

Other thieves targeting a specific victim can be someone with an axe to grind. A vengeful ex-spouse, friend or scorned lover, can cause a lot of damage very quickly as they often already have needed information. In this instance it’s wise to take precautions, even if they still appear friendly.

At present there’s not much to discourage an Identity thief. They know chances of being caught and prosecuted are slight. One study said about 1 in 700 was the average. The risk may actually be smaller since many victims are reluctant to prosecute a friend or loved one. In such cases, it’s advisable to spread the word to other friends and family because they may go from one to the next until they’ve exhausted their circle of relationships. Although it might be emotionally difficult to do it’s recommended to file a police report. Without one, most creditors won't restore bad credit.

There are other avenues identity thieves use. For instance, a party or repair crew doing maintenance where people have free access to a home can present multiple opportunities. So what can be done? Identity theft professionals offer these suggestions:

  • Lock filing cabinets and keep them locked when not in use. It’s not a bad idea to toss checkbooks in there too.
  • Change computer and account passwords often.
  • Go paperless and switch to banking online. This keeps important data out of mail boxes that are easy targets.
  • Don't let others use personal credit or debit cards or reveal PIN numbers. If this mistake has already been made, notify the issuer, request a new card and change the PIN.
  • Be careful selecting babysitters, domestic help, house sitters or who to pick up mail when on vacation. The post office will hold your mail.
  • Monitor online accounts regularly.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Teach, those are some excellent tips. Whatcha trying to do steal my thunder? LOL

    • teacherjoe52 profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi JY.

      I have more than one anti- virus on my computer.

      Changing passwords once a month is a good idea and changing them every time after using WiFi is nessesary. A great place to find strong passwords is the Bible and adding a number with the word. How many people would use the word gibeah or gib63eah? That's not too easy to guess is it? I don't trust online banking.

      God bless you.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, 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:

    Show Details
    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 or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    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)
    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.
    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)