discoverAccording to estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau more than one-third of Americans are unwilling to mail in their census information due to fear of identity theft.

According to the government, this is of major concern. Nearly 10 million people were victims of identity theft last year. This constitutes a 22% increase from the year before, and 43% of these cases didn’t even involve a computer. Instead they involved simple things such as stolen wallets and pilfered trash. Criminals are stealing identities as easily as stealing trash bins in banks and dumpster diving around local homes.

Heith Copes of the University of Alabama at Birmingham stated “What motivates all these offenders is money, and that’s where you see the distinction between street life and those living a middle-class lifestyle. The street-life types, these are the hardcore offenders. They live this life of the party, drugs, going out – this hedonistic lifestyle. And they use the money to support that lifestyle. It’s a cash-intensive lifestyle. It encourages them to commit more crime, and the cycle continues. The middle class is trying to portray a middle-class lifestyle; they’re trying to pay off houses and cars they can’t afford.”

The fact remains that the people who are perpetrating these crimes are not highly sophisticated, technologically advanced, or super geniuses. Rather they are everyday people who could be doing something as simple as going through you trash. Simple precautions such as shredding bank statements and other personal information can be enough to protect yourself from this type of crime.

(Via Miller-McCune)

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