Identity Theft is Just Too Easy

Experiment Reveals Some Surprising Truths about Identity Theft

A recent experiment by a Savannah, Georgia news station, WTOC11 The Southeast News Leader, reveals that identity theft can be surprisingly easy to commit due to the willingness and trusting nature of many individuals. WTOC conducted several experiments to determine how easy it could be to commit identity theft by gathering personal information from willing participants. The results are unpleasantly astounding.


Going Under Cover

WTOC set up a hidden camera to monitor the interactions between their reporters and the unknowing participants of the experiment. The first day of the experiment was to determine how much people would be willing to “sell” their social security number for. When tempted with a $5 gift card, nearly half of the people involved in the experiment willingly gave up their social security numbers.

On the second day of the experiment, there were four individuals who simply gave out their social security numbers for nothing in return. If it had not been a news station asking for personal information as part of an experiment, any of the individuals could have been the victims of identity theft.

Cause for Concern

The amount of money stolen via identity theft is well into the millions. Identity theft is a serious concern, and as a consumer you definitely don’t want to willingly reveal your information to just anyone. The consumers who were part of the WTOC experiment did something incredibly risky for a payoff that was not nearly worth it.

Keep It to Yourself

You should follow the latest advice offered for reducing your risk of identity theft. Do not reveal your social security number to anyone unnecessarily and don’t carry your social security card around in your wallet. Make sure you safeguard your financial information too such as your credit card accounts and shred all important financial documents such as credit card and bank statements. These tips will help you avoid becoming the victim of identity theft.

If you are stopped on the street like the participants in WTOC’s experiment, don’t give away your social security number. No financial incentive is worth the tradeoff for revealing your social security number and becoming the victim of identity theft.

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