Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has declared the week of September 25 to October 1 as “Identity Theft Awareness Week,” encouraging citizens to be proactive and learn more about identity theft and how to use easy consumer privacy resources.
On Monday, September 26, local residents are invited to attend a free summit at Chicago Police headquarters. The meeting — held from 8 AM-4 PM at 3510 S. Michigan Avenue — will highlight the various risks of identity fraud, online safety, and how to avoid becoming a victim of a crime that is costing Americans $37 billion annually.
More than 250 law enforcement officials from the region are expected to attend, and the day’s activities will include a better understanding of identity theft laws, identity theft trends, and consumer protection strategies to avoid becoming a victim.
The theft of personal information has proven to be very profitable for identity thieves, and most cases involve multiple jurisdictions and are extremely complex, according to LifeLock, an event co-host.
“With an ever-evolving industry, there are countless ways to commit this crime and continued education is the only way for all of us to stay a step ahead of this crime,” explains LifeLock’s chairman, Todd Davis.
Seniors, Children Most At Risk
While everyone should pay close attention, it appears that the very young and the very old tend to be the largest targets.
Senior citizens tend to become identity theft victims through Internet and social-networking scams, and each victim typically sees over $6,000 illegally charged in their name. Another risk to seniors is medical identity fraud, and that costs approximately $20,000 to resolve for most people.
For children, the crime is worse, since it’s only after a child becomes an adult and gets rejected for a car loan or student loan is the crime exposed. This, of course, leads to the difficult task of trying to undo years – decades, perhaps — of damage. When children’s data is exposed, it is misused more frequently and can go undetected for years. In fact, a startling 140,000 cases of identity fraud affect minor children each year.