Javelin Strategy has released their ID Fraud Report from 2014, and the verdict is in: ID Theft is still a big deal.
Here are four trends to watch (more info here) this year:
1. Credit monitoring can’t prevent heinous identity theft
“ID theft” falls into two categories: Hassle and heinous. Credit card fraud falls into the former: Someone takes your credit card (or uses your credit card information) to make a purchase. It’s a pain, but you can get your money back and close down your account and usually, that’s that. New account fraud falls into the latter: Someone uses your personal information to get a loan, open a line of credit, etc. This camp of crime is more difficult to detect, and often goes unnoticed. Typically, credit card monitoring services (like Lifelock) can help prevent the hassle but are not as effective in combating the heinous.
2. Phishing phone calls on the rise
The FTC says “impersonation crimes” are on the rise. This is a variation on “phishing” emails: A fraudster impersonating a government official such as the IRS will call you. The person knows some of your personal information – maybe part of your social security number and other identifying details. The person says you owe taxes or penalties and tries to collect payment. Don’t do it! Remember, the IRS is old school. They will contact you via mail, not by phone. In fact, don’t give out any personal information to anyone who calls you. If the caller claims to be associated with an organization (for example, a bank) you do business with, hang up and call them back directly. You should always be the initiator, not the recipient, of any interaction involving your personal information.
3. Chip cards are coming
Have you seen the new credit cards with shiny metal chips on them? If not, you will soon. This technology is expected to be commonplace by 2018. It will prevent thieves from being able to steal credit card data and print it on fake cards, which will limit credit card fraud. Unfortunately, though, this may provide greater incentive to thieves to steal personal information for new account fraud. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to be vigilant in protecting your credentials: The fewer people and institutions you give your social security number to, the better.
4. Students are at risk
Even though millennials are known for being tech-savvy, they’re are less vigilant in protecting their personal information. Young people have “bad social network behavior” and broadcast personal information such as birth dates, addresses and more on public Facebook accounts. This is just one possible reason that despite being less concerned about identity theft, they’re more likely to be victimized. Javelin Strategy found that students are five times more likely to be victims of “familiar fraud” or being taken advantage of by a familiar person. Give the students in your life a heads up: Let them know how important it is not to leave credit cards or other sensitive information lying for dorm mates or fast friends to access.