Identity theft is alive and well–and fraudsters keep getting richer

Identity theft is alive and well–and fraudsters keep getting richer

Last year, cyber criminals netted 16 billion dollars in the US alone. Find out why fraudsters are so successful and what you can do to stay safe.



Identity fraud no longer makes tech-news headlines, and that’s how cyber bad guys like it. Staying below the radar has afforded cyber fraudsters a steady income for many years—something well understood by the analysts at Javelin Strategy and Research. They have been tracking identity fraud since the early 2000s, and this year is no different. The company’s recently released 2017 Identity Fraud Survey advises that in 2016, 15.4 million Americans lost 16 billion dollars to identity fraud.

What’s more, according to the people at Javelin, 2016 was a banner year for fraudsters. “The overall fraud incidence rose 16 percent to affect 6.15 percent of U.S. consumers, from 5.30 percent in 2015—the highest on record,” (more…)

Is identity theft protection worth it?


Identity theft is a huge problem. In 2015 alone, more than 13 million Americans became victims of at a cost of $15 billion, according to Javelin Strategy & Research,

But the problems caused by identity theft go far beyond the money directly lost to criminal identity theft.  Identity theft can affect the victim’s ability to get a job, rent an apartment, buy insurance, get a mortgage or get a car loan.

When a criminal steals someone’s identity and commits crimes using that person’s name, it can result in the victim being arrested instead And in medical identity theft, when someone’s medical insurance is used by an identity thief, the records of the victim become corrupted which can even result in the identity theft victim receiving a blood transfusion of the wrong blood type.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

Many turn to identity theft service providers.  It’s a market worth $3 billion, according to the research firm IBISWorld.  According to the  Government Accountability Office, about 50 to 60 companies provide these services.

But do they work? That was the question posed in a recent GAO study. Its report described four types of identity theft services (more…)

When in Doubt, Shred it: Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft
April 25, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. – This week is Money Smart Week, and AARP wants South Dakotans to be aware of ways they can protect their money from scammers and identity thieves. Across the nation, identity theft is so prevalent that someone has his or her identity stolen every two seconds.

That’s why AARP South Dakota’s director of community outreach, Lindsey Holmquest, says when it comes to outdated documents with sensitive information on them, it’s best to shred them. Her organization is helping Rushmore State residents do just that this week.

“When in doubt, shredding is the best option, and we work with a couple of great companies across the state who actually don’t just protect us by shredding these documents, but also recycle them into useful products,” she explained.

There are two shred events this week that are open to the public and will run from 11 A.M. to 2 P.M. The first is in Pierre on Wednesday and the second is in Rapid City on Thursday.

AARP South Dakota has shredded about 5,000 pounds of documents at similar events this year.

Holmquest says if a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is, and that people should never provide their information over (more…)

Smart Tips to Prevent Identity Theft

Smart Tips to Prevent Identity Theft

(StatePoint) More than 13 million U.S. consumers fall victim to identity theft each year, according to Javelin Strategy and Research, with more than $15 billion stolen. Fortunately for consumers, many of these crimes are preventable.

“Falling victim to identity theft can be financially devastating for many consumers, a consequence that only further emphasizes the importance of safeguarding your personal information,” says Guy Abramo, president of Experian Consumer Services.

The identity protection experts at Experian recommend the following tips to better protect yourself.

• Protect your home: Your home is your castle and identity thieves know this is where your most valuable possessions are likely stored. Diminish your vulnerability by using a safe to store sensitive information, such as birth certificates, social security cards and passports. You should also use a shredder to reduce your paper trail. Pay and immediately shred utility bills, credit card statements and other paperwork that includes your personal information.

• Be cautious at work: “Familiar fraud” is common and occurs when a victim’s identity is stolen by someone he or she knows. At work, store personal items like wallets and smartphones in a locked cabinet. Don’t copy or scan sensitive documents, as memory (more…)

Why You Need to Be Careful of Tax-Related Identity Theft

Why You Need to Be Careful of Tax-Related Identity Theft




Learn what to look for to avoid the devices that want to steal your personal information (KTRK)
Thursday, April 13, 2017 02:00PM
While there’s no perfect way to protect yourself from crooks targeting your credit card information, you can take steps to be aware of potential threats.

Skimming devices are used by criminals to secretly capture credit and debit card data from unsuspecting users. Once the credit/ debit data is captured, the data is downloaded and then used for fraudulent transactions. The data can be sold, immediately used for online purchases or re-encoding and creation of counterfeit credit/debit cards.


Portable, hand held devices where the suspect must have the device and swipe the victim’s card. These devices are typically used at a point of sale transaction such as restaurants or fast food.

Portable hand held skimmer (Houston Police Department)
Skimming devices attached to ATM machines. These devices are more sophisticated. ATM skimming devices are typically paired with a pinhole camera that captures the victim’s ATM card pin number.

Gas pumps skimming devices. Like ATM skimming devices, gas pump skimmers are more sophisticated, and require installation. Some of these devices (more…)

What kinds of people fall prey to identity theft, phishing, and hacks? It’s not who you think

What kinds of people fall prey to identity theft, phishing, and hacks? It’s not who you think

Think of an identity theft victim and a few stereotypes probably come to mind, but a new study from CBT Nuggets reveals that the majority of victims are anything but stereotypical.

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Identity theft isn’t a problem for you, right? You’re tech savvy and you’d never fall for a phishing attack or let a password fall into the wrong hands. You’re confident that your online identity is safe, but that confidence could be your digital undoing.

It might seem counterintuitive, but according to a study from CBT Nuggets self-identified (more…)

Statistics offer look at identity theft

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Courtesy of the Canton Regional and Greater West Virginia Better Business Bureau

The 2017 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy and Research, revealed that the number of identity victims increased from 13.1 million victims in 2015 to 15.4 million in 2016. This is a record high since Javelin Strategy and Research began tracking identity fraud in 2003. The study also shows that despite the efforts of the industry, scammers successfully stole $16 billion from consumers, up from $15 billion in just one year.

Identity theft can happen to anyone and can come in numerous forms. Even with advances in technology in recent years and more individuals taking measures to protect their identities, it remains a widespread issue. “There are several ways fraudsters can steal a person’s identity, including data breach, stolen credit card information and stolen bank account information,” says Kimberly Thompson, director of external communications. “The Identity Theft Resource Center has devised a helpful guide to protecting ourselves using the word SHRED.”

S trengthen passwords. Use at least eight characters, alpha numerics, symbols and upper and lower case letters.

H andle personal (more…)