You’ve probably heard the phrase “a fox watching the henhouse.” Today, that applies to people on the inside of organizations who work in trusted positions, and who use those positions to steal client or employee information for their own personal gain.
As much as 70% of all identity theft is committed by individuals with inside access to organizations such as corporations, banks, or government agencies, or by someone who has an existing relationship with the victim. People with access to sensitive personal data are most likely to commit identity theft. For many, it’s just too easy not to.
In a doctor’s office in Stamford, Connecticut, police arrested a 42-year-old New York woman for using patients’ credit card numbers, which she accessed while working as a temporary hire. When patients paid by credit card, the temp would copy down the numbers and later make fraudulent charges.
An identity thief begins by acquiring a target’s personal identifying information, such as name, credit card number, Social Security number, birth date, home address, account information, etc. If the thief has access to a database, this information is typically there for the taking.
Many credit applications and online accounts request current and previous addresses. So the thief fills out the victim’s current address as “previous” and plugs in a new address, usually a P.O. box or the thief’s own address, where the new credit card or statement will be sent.
Currently, there is no way to prevent credit card fraud, or “account takeover.” Instead, check your statements diligently and refute unauthorized charges within 60 days, or two billing cycles. In most cases, your credit card company will quickly resolve the issue.
Protecting yourself from new account fraud begins with closely monitoring your credit files at each of the three major credit bureaus. However, you need to monitor your credit daily, which is nearly impossible on your own, and far from cost-effective. That’s where identity theft protection comes in.
To protect yourself from scams, consider subscribing to an identity theft protection service, which offers proactive identity surveillance, lost wallet protection, and alerts when suspicious activity is detected on your accounts. For additional tips, please visit CounterIdentityTheft.com.