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Many people might know about the threats they face online when it comes to identity theft and the possibility of losing their personal or financial data. However, in reality, a far bigger threat exists in the real world.

Crimes related to the theft of wallets, purses, personal identification and computers made up 73% of all identity fraud cases last year, based on a recent study of insurance claims. That compares to just 15% for online identity theft and data breaches, 10% in forgery and 2% for postal fraud.

Furthermore, only 10% of the people who filed these claims could identify the person responsible for the crime in question, the report said. This may be an indicator that while people are keeping up their guard about sharing sensitive information online, they may not be doing so in the real world.

When everyday items like wallets or drivers licences are lost or stolen, identity fraud often follows. Credit cards, drivers licences and other sources of personal information enable criminals to commit a fraud or crime, all in your name. People are not always aware that someone is illegally using their identity until suspicious activity appears on their monthly financial statement. It is critical that people review these monthly documents closely and remember to call their bank immediately if they suspect fraudulent activity.

In these fraud cases, the most common way people are victimised is through use of their current accounts, which made up 47% of all identity fraud, the report said. Another 32% of incidents involved the opening of new accounts, and 7% involved the criminal taking out a loan. Interestingly, 14% of these crimes related to the fraudster using the victim's identity to get a job, receive medical services or avoid apprehension for another criminal activity.

With identity theft on the rise, people should take every precaution possible to make sure it doesn't happen to them, such as keeping sensitive information safe and secure and never sharing any such personal or financial data with anyone unless they are completely trusted.

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