Identity Theft: Why You Should Be Worried [Infographic]

Identity theft and related crimes are on the rise, affecting more people worldwide and costing individuals and businesses more money year after year.

Identity theft and related crimes are on the rise, affecting more people worldwide and costing individuals and businesses more money year after year. Identity Theft is a crime in which an impostor obtains key pieces of personal identifying information (PII) such as Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers and uses them for their own personal gain.

ID Theft can start with lost or stolen wallets, pilfered mail, a data breach, computer virus, phishing, a scam, or paper documents thrown out by you or a business (dumpster diving). This crime varies widely, and can include check fraud, credit card fraud, financial identity theft, criminal identity theft, governmental identity theft, and identity fraud.

In this infographic, created by Sam Franada of Lines and Moodswings for KGBPeople and based on data from Wikipedia, the I.D. Theft Center, GigaOm and other sources, we can learn that 10% of Americans have had their identities stolen, and on average, each of those individuals lost around $5,000. The cost to businesses worldwide adds up to a staggering $221 billion each year.

Check out other interesting facts about identity theft — including the best ways to protect your own identity — below, and in the comments, let us know about your opinions and experiences. [Lines and Moodswings and KGBPeople via Mashable]

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