|Photo Credit: Adam Thomas|
I know, I know, we're all aware that identity theft happens. But most people don't think about how it happens.
Of known attacks, hacking is used in about 11%. But, and this is a big but, 65% of identity theft victims don't know how their identity was stolen. Experts believe a large portion of that 65% is a result of hacking. (Here's an interesting Wired piece on it.)
Here's some data on fraud from CIFAS, a fraud prevention organization in the UK:
· Nearly 250,000 confirmed frauds were identified during 2012 by CIFAS Members, the highest number of frauds ever recorded by CIFAS Members and over 150,000 cases had an identifiable victim.
· The continued blight of Identity Fraud accounts for over 50% of all frauds recorded in 2012.
· The takeover of customer accounts increased by 53% from 2011, meaning that data driven identity crimes now constitute the vast majority of all fraud in the UK.
· Conversely, frauds committed by the genuine account holder or applicant have all declined: the most notable being the decrease in fraudulent misuse of an account (Misuse of Facility fraud) which fell in 2012 by over 15% from the record levels seen in 2011. There has also been a fall in proven false insurance claims and instances of individuals submitting false details or documents in support of an application.
So here’s the takeaway: Fraud and identity theft are on the rise and a lot of it is linked to your online activity.
This is just a friendly reminder to take your online security seriously. Get an antivirus program, be smart when you click on links, and use a VPN! If you haven’t heard us say it a thousand times, a VPN is one of the best ways to keep your online information safe! Remember, identity thieves won’t think twice to snoop on your Wi-Fi connection to snag your banking credentials, your credit card number, or even your home address. But if you lock that information up with 128-bit encryption and a VPN tunnel, even the most adept hackers won’t have a hope of stealing your data!