Imagine the terrifying experience of having your identity stolen. The identity thief could derail your life in a number of ways - from applying for a personal loan under your name to poaching your tax refunds. Worryingly, in a digitally-connected world, the risk of identity theft is higher than ever. Anyone can become a victim of identity theft - from digitally-savvy professionals to kids that aren’t even of school age yet to experienced retirees.

Last year alone, $16 billion was stolen from over 15 million consumers in the U.S. What is even more disquieting is that identity theft can have a grievous impact on other aspects of your life beyond the money in your bank account. It can damage your credit score, permanently affect your criminal history and even your medical records.

As a financial organisation, we feel the responsibility to take proper steps to guarantee safety to all our customers. In addition to other safety protocols we have implemented, our customer verification process is built to fend off financial scams. For a new client to start using Fast Invest services, they must provide and verify some key personal information, such as their phone number, email address and a copy of a valid ID. To tackle fraud risks, we use additional safety measures; we monitor payments larger than €10,000 and allow fund withdrawals through a personal bank only (it has to be under the user’s name). When it comes to protecting customer data, we work exclusively with reliable server providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Who’s most at risk?

The most common form of identity theft begins with unauthorized credit card and bank account charges. About 86% of fraud victims first notice the issue by catching an unauthorized charge on their bank account or credit card. Those lucky enough to discover the fraudulent charges early typically have the problem solved within a couple of hours. However, not all victims are so lucky. Some cases can take years to resolve, while 1 out 4 never fully recover from identity theft.

Social networks are some of the riskiest platforms in terms of identity theft. Social networkers have a 46% higher risk of fraud than those who limit activity on the platforms. Online shoppers also have a 30% higher risk of fraud in comparison to non-shoppers. Basic steps, such as clearing your credit card information in browser, creating diverse passwords, and protecting your online shopping accounts can help protect your personal data and the money that you have worked hard to amass.

Whether you’re 22 and a new college grad or 60 and preparing for retirement, staying informed about your digital life is more important than ever. Have a look at the infographic from Investment Zen below. It provides additional information on the risks of identity theft as well as a few extra tips on how to minimise your risks. If you suspect identity fraud at any time, seek help immediately.

Image source: investmentzen