Three reasons why ID theft increased in 2011 and how you can protect yourself

identity-theft-online-scamLast year saw an increase in identity theft incidents when compared to 2010. According to a fraud report from Javelin Strategy & Research, there has been an increase of 13 percent in ID Theft for 2011, and some of the blame can be pinned on the rise of social media and smartphone use.

In 2010, roughly ten million adults were victims of ID fraud; that number is now up to 11.6 million adults in 2011. Javelin Strategy & Research’s long-running study surveyed 5,022 US consumers in October 2011 in order pinpoint the impact of fraud, as well as the prime areas of vulnerability. The fraud report found that, in 2011, the main catalysts for the rise in ID theft incidents were the rampant data breaches, negligent smartphone security and publicly displayed personal information on social media sites.

Interestingly, while the fraud incidents are higher for 2011, the costs of identity fraud haven’t increased. Compared to 2004, the consumer’s out-of-pocket costs have actually decreased by 44 percent. The report believes that this is due to the crack-down on authentication by institutions, as well as consumer awareness efforts by the government and institutions. Last spring, seeking to minimize identity theft, Obama administration put forth a new plan known as the National Strategy for Trust Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC); the administration is currently trying to convince internet companies to comply with one standardized Internet login system.

“While identity fraud incidence increased last year, it is becoming less profitable for fraudsters. Consumers, the financial services industry, law enforcement and government agencies are stopping fraud earlier and making new account fraud more difficult to perpetrate,” said Javelin Strategy & Research president, James Van Dyke.

Three ID theft catalysts

Key to the large number of fraud incidents was the increase in data breaches we saw in 2011; Sony had its infamous PSN data breech where an estimated 100 million users’ data was compromised. Javelin reports that there was a 67 percent increase in the number of Americans impacted by data breaches last year. The three most common items found to be exposed in a breech are: Credit card number, debit number and social security number. The research found that data breach victims are 9.5 more likely to have an identity fraud incident.

Javelin also found that certain social behaviors put consumers more at risk. Despite warnings that fraudsters often use social media as a resource, the research found that users were sharing a large amount of personal information on their networks; the same type of information used to authenticate identity by institutions. The study found that, of those who had public profiles, 68 percent shared their birthday information, 63 percent shared their high school, 12 percent shared their pet’s name and 18 percent even shared their phone number.

Though Javelin said there is “no proof of direct causation,” Google+, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn had the highest incidence of fraud. LinkedIn users were twice as likely to have reported being an identity theft victim.

As far as smartphone users go, the survey found that seven percent of owners were victims of ID theft. Mobile. Javelin believes that these users could benefit from updating to newest OS whenever possible, using a password on their home screen, and to avoid saving login information on their devices.

How to protect your ID

The research firm offers some tips for those of you worried about your data. On the prevention-side. Always keep your personal data private. That means keep your data secure with passwords or in a locked storage device and never pay your bills on a public WiFi hotspot. Also, obviously keep key personal information on social networking sites, like your cat’s name, or your birthday, private. On the mobile-front, be sure of the apps you download, the data shared on public WiFi and of course, watch where you leave your phone.

Prevention can only do so much, so create a system to detect fraud early. Make sure you monitor credit/debit accounts via your institution’s website and set up an alert system to be sent to your mobile or email. Try looking into some of the identity theft services which offer credit monitoring, fraud alerts, credit freezes, database scanning etc.; many can be found for free or for no cost.

Lastly, if a problem does arise, make sure you report it as quickly as possible. The sooner you act, the less you will lose and the more likely law enforcement can catch the fraudsters.

Computing

Man pleads guilty to scamming Facebook and Google out of more than $100M

One of the men behind an elaborate fraud that saw Facebook and Google each hand over tens of millions of dollars has admitted to his part in the scheme. Lithuanian Evaldas Rimasauskas faces up to 30 years in a U.S. jail.
Mobile

Apple Card is a credit card you can sign up for and start using with your iPhone

Apple is getting into the credit card business. Apple Card is a credit card you can sign up for directly on your iPhone, and it doesn't have fees. There's a lower interest rate and you can even get Daily Cash from all purchases.
Home Theater

Kanopy privacy breach reveals which movies members have been streaming

Free video streaming site, Kanopy, has been inadvertently publishing millions of lines of web log data for days, according to a new security report. A bad actor could guess a person's identity and see what they've been watching.
Social Media

A Facebook, Instagram bug exposed millions of passwords to its employees

Facebook, Facebook Lite, and Instagram passwords weren't properly encrypted and could be viewed by employees, the company said Thursday. The network estimates millions of users were affected.
Gaming

Apple Arcade might be the new game subscription service worth signing up for

Apple Arcade will launch this fall bringing a new game-subscription service with cross-platform support for iOS, Mac, and Apple TV. At launch, the service will feature more than 100 exclusive games, with more added to the service regularly.
Mobile

Check out 22 of the best iPhone 7 cases and covers for your shiny new phone

The iPhone 7 might be attractive, but it’s not rugged. To keep your device in pristine condition, you really need to think about proper protection. That's why we've rounded up some of the best iPhone 7 cases and covers available.
Mobile

Apple News Plus gives you access to more than 300 magazines for $10 per month

At Apple's services event, the company unveiled a new news subscription service called Apple News Plus. The service gives you access to more than 300 magazines and newspapers and costs $10 per month.
Mobile

Apple's iOS 12.2 brings support for Apple News Plus and new AirPlay 2 features

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The latest OS comes along with tons of new capabilities, from grouped notifications to Siri Shortcuts. Here are all the features you'll find in iOS 12.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for March 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for March 2018.
Apple

Apple Pay will be available at 70 percent of U.S. retail locations this year

Apple Pay is growing rapidly, so we've built a list of all the vendors, retailers, and companies worldwide that plan to support Apple's burgeoning mobile payment platform or already do.
Mobile

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Mobile

Does the box for AirPods 2 reveal Apple's AirPower wireless charging mat?

At its September event in 2017, Apple unveiled the AirPower, a new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.
Computing

Yes, you can use Android apps on your Chromebook. Here's how

You can now get Android apps on your Chromebook! Google has enabled the Google Play Store app support on its Chrome OS and Chromebook hardware, so to get you started, here's our guide on how to get Android apps on a Chromebook.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy Fold pre-orders will start April 26 with shipment on May 3

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.