With the unemployment rate still hovering at 10%, crime will be on the rise. Now, this unemployment rate does not count all the people who have simply dropped out and stopped looking; if we include those folks, the unemployment rate is probably near 20%, if not higher.
All the more reason we need to be aware of crime. One in four Americans have had their identities stolen. This is serious stuff, folks. Typically what happens is that someone (who you don't know) opens an account, such as a credit card account or a charge account in your name and starts running up charges. The bills are sent to a fake address, so you aren't aware of the situation. At least, you're not aware of the situation at first. Several months later you receive a phone call from a collection agency telling you that you owe $8,000 on an account.
It goes beyond store accounts and credit card accounts. There are instances where someone ran up a $100,000 medical bill and charged it to someone else's account. What's worse is that the victim was involved in an accident, was knocked unconscious, and rushed to the hospital. Now the thief's medical records become the victim's records (remember, the victim cannot speak for themselves because they are unconscious,) and treatment is applied to the victim based on the thief's medical condition. Not good.
Clearing up a stolen identity can take years, and cost a small fortune, if you're not dead from having the incorrect medicine administered. Identity theft is no longer simply a matter of losing a lot of money; it can be a matter of losing your life.
Tamara Holmes noted recently on creditcards.com that credit card solicitations are on the rise, as a matter of fact, by a factor of three. Don't simply throw away those unwanted solicitations! You need to shred them. There is an activity known as dumpster diving, where thieves literally dive into dumpsters to retrieve those unwanted solicitations, fill them out with your name, and they now have a credit card.
You can't be too careful these days, especially with high unemployment and crime on the rise.