MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Identity theft is a growing problem and is a danger to everyone.
Whether civilian or a Department of Defense employee, anyone can become a target.
Identity theft is when someone uses another person’s identity for any reason without their consent.
“You always think it’s going to happen to someone else but when it happens to you it will change your life,” said Capt. Samuel H. Kennon, station judge advocate.
Identity theft is an unpredictable crime. The only defense is to make yourself a hard target and stay safe.
Kennon and Scott Vousboukis, supervisory special agent of Naval Criminal Investigative Service, both agree identity theft is “all about the money.”
“To steal somebody’s identity, all you need these days is someone’s Facebook account,” said Kennon.
When an identity is stolen, victims will more than likely not notice right away. They won’t know how or when their information was stolen.
“Thieves can try 100 times but they only need to be right once,” said Vousboukis.
There is a very important letter to look for when inputting information online.
“Anytime you input your information online make sure there is an ‘S,’” said Vousboukis. “When the link says ‘https’ it means it is a secured site.”
Although identity theft mostly occurrs online, physical theft ofinformation and personal items is still a problem. \
“The ladies in the night clubs are really good at attaining peoples’ Department of Defense identification cards, dog tags, and credit cards,” said Vousboukis.
Holding excess informational items creates a much larger chance of identity theft.
“People can become a harder target by just trying not to use credit cards in night clubs and not keep your social security card in your wallet,” said Vousboukis.
“It can be your roommate, your buddy you went out drinking with, that girl you met the night before, or even relatives,” said Vousboukis.
Family members can also be suspects of identity theft because they already know information which may be used as security questions.
“It’s not always about phishing scams,” said Vousboukis.
“Sometimes it’s loved ones, it’s cousins, brothers or mothers who can steal your identity.”
People need to watch out for each other. Especially, when it comes to family and children.
“Goes with kids too, goes with the 10-year-old that has a military id and they want their own wallet,” said Vousboukis.
“The biggest problem with kids is they most likely won’t find out until they’re 18.”
Generally, children have bad credit or none at all due to their young age, but identity thieves can ruin their future credit.
Identity theft isn’t only about gaining money.
“Someone may steal an identity for money or to commit another crime” said Vousboukis.
Illegal immigrants use fake or stolen identification cards in order to get work.
Identities can be used for anything.
“You can never be too cautious when it comes to protecting your identity,” said Vousboukis.
“To anyone outside your family, friends or people that know you personally, you’re just a number; anyone can be you, your voice or your number if they have it.”