Identity Theft + Protection
Check out this story penned by Frank W. Abagnale (of the book, movie and Broadway musical “Catch Me If You Can”) who today is one of the world’s foremost authorities on identity theft and securing documents.
By now you’ve heard about the recent spate of data breaches that took place over the holiday season with a number of retailers. The stories have ranged from the number of people potentially affected to a growing “blame game” between the financial services and retail industries over security. But, the media is only just beginning to touch upon the most important part of the story—your personal identification information was stolen and has probably already been sold to identity thieves.
As Fraud of the Day readers, you know why this is important: because all those identities are out there just waiting for the right criminal to come along and use them to steal government benefits or services. And, since tax season just kicked off on January 31, your federal and state tax refunds are high value targets for criminals.
Identity thieves—mostly organized criminal groups based out of Russia—are smart. They know retailers typically offer a year of free credit monitoring when a data breach becomes public. But, the criminals don’t mind because identities are like fine wine—the older they are the more valuable they are. These criminals will hold onto these identities for years for the purpose of credit card or bank fraud. They will even use data mining technology to find the most affluent identities and steal from them when the time is right. (Coincidentally, this is the same data mining technology retailers use to send you coupons and special offers based on your buying history.)