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Identity theft is on the rise with no signs of letting up

Identity theft is on the rise with no signs of letting up

A study was released about the rising instances of identity theft in 2016 by the Insurance Information Institute reported that identity thefts resulted in a loss of $16 billion in 2016. They also impacted 15.4 million people. This is appalling as in 2015, the total losses recorded were only $15.3 billion.

Beware of cyber identity theft

More and more businesses are becoming digital now. Even the economy is turning digital. Cyber criminals are taking advantage of the situation to launch several scams aimed at stealing personal information. Stolen sensitive information can result in cyber attacks and breaches.

In 2015, personal data of more than 90 million users was exposed in a breach that impacted both Anthem and Premera Blue Cross.

Not just businesses, even government organizations are familiar to scams and cyber security identity theft. As of 2016, the US Government has been breached several times impacting several departments. These breaches affected approximately 22 million people.

Threat actors have been identified mostly targeting medical and healthcare companies. Breaches affecting this industry constituted 34.5 percent of the total breaches in 2016. The Education industry recorded nine percent of all breaches and the U.S. government/military made up 6.6 percent of all breaches.

Statistics behind scam and identity theft

The statistics behind scams, cybercrime identity thefts, and fraud cases are appaling. Here are few notable numbers:

  • Out of 3.1 million cyber complaints recorded in 2016, 1.3 million were fraud related.
  • Fraud cases cost customers a total of around $745 million.
  • 13 percent of all complaints were due to identity theft.

Rising number of identity thefts

Cyber criminals are getting very creative. Instead of focusing just on credit card theft and fraud, they are targeting sensitive bank information. With the popularity of online banking increasing, all hackers need to do is steal the username and password of a user. Yes, there are two-factor authentication systems present but threat actors are using scams to find a way to bypass the authentication systems.

Cyber identity thefts are also becoming very prominent. Just by knowing your Social Security Number, hackers are capable of finding your name and address. They use this information to open new accounts, write cheques, and take loans in your name.

Be alert and prepared

It is frightening that very few people are aware of the types of cyber security identity thefts and the mitigation steps to be taken to stay safe.

There are few steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim:

1) Keep checking your credit card report regularly. If you find any discrepancies, contact your bank immediately and take necessary actions.

2) Consider identity theft protection services that monitor your SSN for suspicious activities.

3) Avoid sharing personal information on social media channels and other platforms.

4) Avoid providing information on third-party sites. Make sure a website is completely safe and has an HTTPS encryption before entering your personal information.

5) Don’t respond to emails, SMS and messages promising you huge discounts and offers in exchange for your sensitive information.

By following the above stated standards security measures, you can stay safe from several scams online.

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