Terrifying financial horror stories aren't fiction!
Earlier this month, an absolute bombshell announcement was made by Equifax – one of the three major credit scoring bureaus in the United States.
“We identified a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. Criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. ”
• TABLE OF CONTENTS •
What is New Account Fraud?
New Account Fraud Stats
The Link between Identity Theft and New Account Fraud
Why New Account Fraud is so Attractive to Criminals
Why New Account Fraud is Difficult to Detect
New Account Fraud Prevention Tips
Identity Theft continues to rank as the fastest growing form of fraudulent crime
A recent report by CIFAS - a not-for-profit company working to protect businesses, charities, public bodies and individuals from financial crime – revealed that prolific users of social media had experienced a 57% increase in incidences of misuse of their personally identifying information over last year. All because fraudsters were able to scrape their victims’ important personal data straight from social media profiles. Information such as birthdates, mother’s name, addresses, former residences and more can all be a key part of building an identity profile sufficient to enable access to accounts or the creation of new ones.
If preliminary estimates hold steady, the amount of fraud victims and the total amount lost to fraud in 2015 is virtually indistinguishable to the amount of fraud victims and the total amount lost to fraud in 2014. While it’s good to know that the rate of and the amount lost to fraud has not increased, it is actually quite worrisome that fraud figures have not decreased from 2014 to 2015.
If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ve probably noticed something: the rapid rise of data breaches. As the world becomes more and more interconnected and technology-dependent, more and more data is being stored online rather than the traditional method of filing away all the data on paper in file cabinets. While having an online database can exponentially streamline processes and therefore save businesses time and money, it can also open up businesses to security breaches by virtually anyone from anywhere in the world.
Before EMV became the standard in the United States, data thieves set their sights on payment card information: credit/debit card numbers along with the account owner’s name and billing address. However, thanks to the beefed-up security protocols provided by the EMV standard, thieves are finding it harder to create fraudulent payment cards that work and are now going after the data needed to create fraudulent payment cards and other financial channels, such as mortgage loans.
While it’s a bit of a relief that actual payment card numbers seem to be safer than in the past, the landscape of data theft is much more treacherous – the thieves are now targeting data that can compromise your entire identity. Now, if your any of your data gets stolen in a data breach, you can’t resolve the issue by simply canceling whichever payment card was compromised since thieves can open new payment cards in your name. Now, you have to monitor your credit report for years after the breach and spend a great deal of your time reclaiming your identity in the event it is used fraudulently in any way.
The following is a list of the ten biggest data breaches in 2015. It is worth noting that these may not actually be the biggest breaches since organizations who have suffered data breaches often do not disclose how many records were affected; the list is composed of organizations who have released the amount of records that were affected.
Before the advent of the internet, global electronic communications, and online databases, it was a simpler time for the world of fraud: mainly consisting of counterfeit money and documents signed with a forged signature. While these crimes caused inconvenience and loss, the extent of the damage was relatively limited in scope and financial loss compared to today.