Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Business breaches a source of identity fraud

by Doug Pollack

A recently federally funded study on identity fraud by Utica College's Center for Identity Management and Information Protection "paints a complex portrait of the signature crime of the digital age, one that has been the top consumer fraud complaint to federal authorities for six consecutive years."

As described in a recent article titled In Many Major Cases ID Theft isn't Personal (Joseph Menn, LA Times-Washington Post, 10-22-07), this study challenges a widely held perception that a majority of identity theft cases occur with people that are known to the victim.

Based on 500 individuals arrested by the US Secret Service over the last several years, only 8% were relatives of or acquainted with their victims. The most common tool for identity theft based on this study was any of a variety of technology devices, including credit card encoders, computer printers and telephones, which contributed to 37% of the cases.

This study further reinforces the need for individuals to be very careful with their personal information, and how and when and to whom they disclose it, but also highlights that identity theft can occur even to those people that are consummately careful.

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