(BOSTON, Mass. – Oct. 31, 2007 – IDTheftSecurity.com) Earlier this month, data from members of a U.K.-based fraud-prevention association showed that the incidence of financial fraud rose there in the third quarter of 2007. Much of the reported crime was of the low-tech variety. But elsewhere, research into heretofore-closed United States Secret Service cases suggested that identity theft stemming from low-tech crime is on the wane. Robert Siciliano, a widely televised and quoted personal security and identity theft expert, said consumers worldwide must consider all their personal data, online and off-line, to be potential contraband for identity thieves.
“Any kind of data, in any form, must be handled properly by its owner,” said Siciliano. “Anything less invites the activity of identity thieves, who always seek the path of least resistance, whether that is in the physical world or the virtual one. Consumers and industry alike must consider all of their data to be susceptible.”
CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com and a member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report‘s editorial board, Siciliano leads Fortune 500 companies and their clients in workshops that explore consumer education solutions for security issues. An experienced identity theft speaker and author of “The Safety Minute: 01,” he has discussed data security and consumer protection on CNBC, on NBC’s “Today Show,” FOX News, and elsewhere.
According to an Oct. 26th news release, members of the industry association CIFAS, which bills itself as the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service, reported a rise in most types of financial fraud over earlier quarters of this year, as well as compared to the same time period in 2006. CIFAS is a 270-member organization comprising those in banking, the credit card industry, asset finance, retail credit, mail order, insurance, investment management, telecommunications, factoring, and share dealing.
While member organizations saw a modest 1 percent decline in identity fraud, the incidence of a kind of identity fraud known as current address fraud rose by more than 50 percent. With current address fraud, the fraudster lives at the “current address” given on the fraudulent application, but only shares the property with the victim. The top-five false or stolen documents used for identity fraud during the period were, in descending order, non-U.K. passports, utility bills, bank statements, U.K. passports, photo card driving licenses.
In tandem, an Oct. 22nd news release from the Center for Identity Management and Information Protection (CIMIP) announced the organization’s research into the nature of 517 previously sealed U.S. Secret Service cases on identity theft, all of which took place between 2000 and 2006. This first-ever study of such records yielded findings such as:
- Organized criminal activity accounted for more than 40 percent of the crimes
- Criminals in nearly half of the cases utilized the Internet or other technology
- Only one-fifth of the other approximately 50 percent of cases resulted from low-tech techniques such as change of address or dumpster diving
“Here we see differences,” said Siciliano. “Whereas one study reveals that low-tech fraud is alive and well, another suggests that it’s a relatively small contributor to the incidence of identity theft and fraud. But, extrapolated to the millions of data records reported stolen in the past few years, even one-fifth of one-half of cases is a great deal. The fact f the matter is that this crime is both low-tech and high-tech. These criminals are hitting victims from all angles.”
Readers may view YouTube video of Siciliano on “FOX News,” explaining how the ubiquity of Social Security numbers as universal identifiers helps thieves who obtain information following data breaches. Those wishing to learn how to further protect themselves against identity theft, may view video of Siciliano at VideoJug.
Identity theft affects us all. Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com and member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report‘s editorial board, makes it his mission to provide consumer education solutions on identity theft to Fortune 500 companies and their clients.
A leader of personal safety and security seminars nationwide, Siciliano has been featured on “The Today Show,” CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, “FOX News,” “The Suze Orman Show,” “The Montel Williams Show,” “Maury Povich,” “Sally Jesse Raphael,” “The Howard Stern Show,” and “Inside Edition.” The Privacy Learning Institute features him on its Website. Numerous magazines, print news outlets, and wire services have turned to him, as well, for expert commentary on personal security and identity theft. These include Forbes, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, United Press International, Reuters, and others.
Visit Siciliano’s Web site, http://www.IDTheftSecurity.com; blog, http://robertsiciliano.com/blog; and YouTube page, http://youtube.com/stungundotcom.
The media are encouraged to get in touch with Siciliano directly:
Personal Security Expert
CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com
PHONE: 888-SICILIANO (742-4542)
FAX: 877-2-FAX-NOW (232-9669)