Residents in Jersey and across the country are facing a growing risk of identity theft - from hackers aligned with a particular cause or ideology who break into corporate websites and then try to embarrass the company by posting sensitive customer information online.

Todd Feinman, the CEO of the data security firm Identity Finder, says "these hacktivists, or data breachers as we like to call them, are going after as much information as they can, to embarrass the companies, and hurt the companies that they've been attacking."

So why are they doing this?

Feinman says the hacktivists site various reasons "such as political, or they've used Occupy Wall Street, they've used a multitude of different reasons, but at the end of the day they want to embarrass the company that they're going after…and unfortunately, the collateral damage is affecting the actual victims - whose information gets posted - they seem to mostly not have regard for those actual victims."

He adds having your social security number - or some other sensitive information hacked is horribly damaging, because "once it's posted to one place on the internet, it is now permanently in the hands of hackers and identity thieves…it's a huge problem that's going to affect you for the rest of your life - and a year or two of credit monitoring really doesn't solve that problem- when credit cards get swiped it can be quite scary…you see that credit card statement with a hundred thousand dollars in charges, or 10 ten thousand dollars in charges, you kind of go into panic mode."

Feinman also says "we definitely are seeing a lot more of the uprising of the hacktivists- it is becoming much more common…these kind of hacktivist attacks only took place a few times in 2010, but last year we saw this occur dozens and dozens, if not hundreds of times…these guys ultimately want to get media attention, so consumers have a little less to worry about, but the risk is still there."