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Identity Theft and It’s Rise in the United States

By Faye Mergel
Published: Monday, December 15th, 2014

Identity theft based on credit card information has actually become a thriving business in the underworld. More and more law enforcing agencies are becoming helpless in catching this type of cyber crime due to its diluteness in the market.

Monica Hamilton, the marketing director at one of the biggest cyber security firms, McAfee Inc. has said that the malicious viruses that are being used to steal important credit card information is growing exponentially from about 1 million in 2007 to almost 130 million.

Identity theft has become most common through infiltration in businesses, where identities can be stolen in hundreds and thousands depending on the customer base of that organization. In this way, businesses suffer at most $250 of loss per stolen credit card information. Due to rise in this crime, security analysts have actually forewarned people to expect to be a victim to this at least once in their life.

One of the biggest reasons that attributes to the rise in this type of crime is the law enforcement agencies. Most local law enforcement agencies do not have the personnel or enough expertise to solve identity theft crimes on an individual basis. In a report conducted in Phoenix police actually said that these criminals are the most difficult to locate, this is why it makes it difficult to investigate as well.

A victim does not only have to suffer the loss of the stolen card, because many a times, this identity information can effectively be used to apply for additional credit, having a direct impact on scores of the credit report. Errors of this type can take years to resolve.

According to a Mark Pribish, a cyber security expert living in Phoenix, there are specific pieces of information that these criminals look for;

  • User id’s and passwords
  • Social Security Information
  • PIN’s
  • Contact details (Home, work, cell phone)
  • Utility Account Numbers
  • Bank Account Numbers
  • Credit Card Numbers
  • Financial Aid or loan information from school or college
  • Insurance Card Numbers
  • License Plate Information
  • Passport Information
  • Student Identities
  • Employment Details

One of the biggest reasons is that organizations generally tend to “clean-up” the mess rather than investing in stringier security measures in their systems. It is only the consumers who can apply pressure on these merchants to install protective software against advancing malicious cyber crime programs.

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