Identity Fraud Increases in 2008

In the past twelve months, the number of identity fraud victims increased 22% to 9.9 million adults, reversing a four-year trend of decreasing fraud (Javelin Research).

Not a good sign. This is exactly the kind of trend that we’ll be hoping to explain on March 10 at the “On-line Protection” session with the Vancouver Board of Trade. More businesses need to understand the practical ways they can help prevent the exploitation of their customers by cyber criminals.

Interestingly, the Javelin blog author Mary Monahan notes that middle-aged women are suffering from ID fraud significantly more than men. Younger adult women actually had lower rates of ID fraud victimization than men, and elderly women had no significant difference with their male counterparts. Mary suggests the at-risk group may be suffering at higher rates because of different behavior when it comes to using technology like alerts and mobile account monitoring.

As we’ve emphasized often in Web Threats Weekly, it is up to businesses and organizations to ensure their customers don’t get compromised.

But the research reminds us that individuals also have to do their part to make sure they don’t get burned by cyber criminals. If you move into a brand new apartment that includes a security system but never bother to switch it on as you come and go, that leaves a vulnerability.

Businesses need to not only build security into their systems but where applicable, educate their customers about the systems they can use to protect themselves.