Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New ID Theft Study Blames Strangers

by Broderick Perkins
© 2007 DeadlineNews.Com

Deadline Newsroom – Don't let a new identity theft study confuse your approach to warding off the crooks. No matter the source of the pilfering, the fundamentals of ID theft prevention apply.

A new study about who is likely to steal your identity shifts the blame from people you know to those who are more likely to be strangers.

In its "Identity Fraud Trends and Patterns," Utica College's Center For Identity Management & Information Protection (CIMIP) tracked Secret Service arrests and convictions of offenders and found that identity thieves engaged in these methods of operation.

• ID thieves used the Internet or some other technological device in the commission of the crime approximately 50 percent of the time. Among those who did not use technology, tactics like dumpster diving and change of address were used 20 percent of the time.

• ID thieves snatched information from service, retail, financial industries or other corporations in 50 percent of the cases in which the point of compromise could be determined. A family member or friend was the point of compromise in only 16 percent of those cases.

• ID thieves used their place of employment to gain access to information 43.8 percent of the time among those who worked at retail outlets including stores, car dealerships, gas stations, casinos, restaurants, hotels, hospitals and doctors' offices. Private corporations were the scene of insider ID theft in about 20 percent of those cases.

The study is in contrast to reports from Javelin Strategy & Research, which has studied the issue from the perspective of victims, rather than the crooks.

"Online Banking and Bill Paying: New Protection from Identity Theft," a study released several years ago by Javelin Strategy and Research, a consultant for financial services, payments, and commerce sector companies, analyzed findings from Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and U. S. Postal Service reports, as well as its own studies.

That study found ID theft stems from a paper trail -- 40 percent of all ID fraud starts with the theft of a wallet or a purse; 14 percent of the time when someone sets up a new account it's done with information the perpetrator took out of a mailbox.

Javelin also said the greatest sources of ID theft are friends and family.

James Van Dyke, responding to the Utica study, said he didn't see a conflict with his firm's results because the Secret Service takes on high-dollar cases -- the median loss in the Utica study was $31,000.

A recent Gartner Inc. survey of victims found the average to be about a tenth as much, $3,300.

Van Dyke also says smaller investigations are handled by local or state police.

When it comes to consumer protection, it doesn't matter how identity theft occurs or who gets fingered at the perpetrator . Consumers are advised to guard all the possible approaches to personal information.

Learn about ID theft prevention strategies outlined on the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft Site.

Read Deadlinenews.Com series "Special Report: FACT Act Amends Fair Credit Laws" to learn about protections under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and it's major overhaul, The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act.

Learn more.

Credit Freeze Doesn't Guarantee ID Theft Protection
How To Protect Your Identity -- For Little Or No Cost
Website To See: AARPs Online Identity Theft Seminar
ID Theft Protection Can Give You A False Sense Of Security
Online Banking Stifles Identity Theft

© 2007 DeadlineNews.Com

Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist of 30 years, is publisher and executive editor of San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service, and the new Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's new backshop. In both cases, it's where all the news really hits home.

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