Identity Theft: Learn the targets & trends
Identity theft crimes continue to sky rocket each year. And with each new crime report, identity theft crimes have remained at the top of the list of consumer complaints file with the Federal Trade Commission.
What to know: Thieves will steal a person’s information either directly or purchase it from other information thieves. Once in possession of your private information, thieves will use it to withdraw money from bank accounts, run up credit card bills, and apply for new credit, home loans, car loans, health insurance, or even federal tax refunds.
SSN: Your social security number is not a sure sign that someone will be able to steal your identity. But if used along with the right formula a thief can cause significant hardship.
Ex. – Many retailers offer credit cards, some offer visa and master card accounts as well. It is easy for a thief to complete the one page application using a stolen SSN and provide this information to the 18-20 year old cashier. Once the information is entered, the line of credit can be issued. The line of credit could range from $1000 to $100,000, depending on the victims credit rating.
This type of fraud could be simple to stop, by adding security checks, however this option would involve compromising a person’s convenience – something we are not usually eager to sacrifice.
Although, the focus of some information thieves is to target individuals, many thieves are experienced hackers. These hackers have become highly adept at cracking even the most complex security measures in government agencies and large corporations. This type of hacking can allow thieves to retrieve thousands of personal records and information at a time.
- According to an article posted by The New York Times, personal patient records sold for $251 at an auction. Health care organizations are a major target for these hackers because they are a great source of personal information.
Even small businesses are posed a threat. Thieves know that generally a small business will have a larger credit line than an individual.
Consumers and employees are enhancing their convenience by transitioning most of their work and personal lives to the use of mobile devices such as, tablets, smart phones, etc… As this transition happens, thieves are targeting these devices. It is suggested to invest in mobile malware.
Thieves use social media websites to research potential victims. They will then create targeted spamming emails that have details about their life, career and finances. An article posted on businessinsider.com says that a person is 73% more likely to be the victim of identity theft if you are using more than three social networks (such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn).
What to know: The possibilities are virtually limitless with the right information and an informed thief. Unfortunately, a credit report will not show if someone has developed any criminal charges as you, using your medical benefits and insurance for medical procedures, or creating a fraudulent work history report by working under your information.
How to stay ahead:
Although individuals are encouraged to be more vigilant and cautious about protecting their personal information, there is no way to stop a young retail cashier from processing an application that they do not know is fraudulent. It is critical for both individuals and workplaces to prioritize information security, so that both parties in the consumer process are working to prevent identity theft.
For businesses, it is important to include comprehensive security policies in compliance with industry and government laws.
For individuals, implement a series of security measures to verify use of your information. Also, try to avoid providing personal information via internet or phone, unless you are sure it is a secure source. Always destroy documents that may have your personal information on them before you throw it away.
Find out how implementing secure document managing practices can help increase your security and trump identity theft risk/impact by protecting confidential information from creation to destruction and disposal.
Rock Solid Shredding provides customized paper and hard drive shredding services that assist businesses with complying with legislation while protecting information.
Contact them at 501.940.9900 or fill out the Contact Form.
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