Understanding Identity Theft
Afraid that you might become an identity theft victim? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken the lead by raising awareness and offering suggestions to consumers on how to protect themselves. Despite these early and continuing efforts, there have been no true experimental studies carried out to learn whether these activities have been helpful for convincing consumers to actually adopt behaviors that reduce the risk of becoming identity theft victims.
Based upon previous published studies, Dr. Ghanei re-framed the FTC recommendations and created 20 “risk-reduction” activities, measurable on a five point “agree-disagree” Likert scale. With the help of Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) a nonprofit organization based in San Diego, Dr. Ghanei enrolled 50 volunteer survey participants in Southern California. The survey participants were made available from the ITRC victim database and compared the use of these “risk reduction” activities before and after they experienced identity theft. Dr. Ghanei found that victims reported significant increased use of the 20 “risk reduction” strategies after experiencing identity theft, suggesting that they may have reduced their risky behavior after this experience.
The results from this study suggest that the victims became much more conscious and appreciative of behaviors and practices that could reduce their risk after they had experienced identity theft. Here are the 20 FTC strategies: