ID Theft Resources

Identity Fraud Study Shows Cybercriminals Evolving

Written by Sydney Brown for Symantec

New research reveals that fraud and cybercriminals are continuing to evolve at a rapid pace. That’s a key finding from Javelin, a research-based consulting company that provides strategic insights into the financial services industry. This week, Javelin released its 2016 Identity Fraud Study.

As the nation’s longest-running study of identity fraud—the unauthorized use of another person’s personal information for financial gain—the report provides consumers and businesses with a comprehensive analysis of identity fraud trends.

The good and bad of chip-enabled cards

Javelin’s latest study revealed that the total number of US identity fraud victims increased by three percent, to 13.1 million, just over the last year. The study also revealed that an increase in EMV payment cards—chip-enabled debit and credit cards that are designed to reduce in-person fraud and counterfeit card operations—had already had a significant impact on criminals’ behavior and doubled the incidence (by 113 percent) of new account fraud, which now accounts for 20 percent of all fraud losses.

As Al Pascual, head of fraud & security, Javelin emphasizes, “when the industry cracks down on one type of fraud, criminals quickly shift their attack vector and area of operation.”

Do you trust your financial institution?

Additionally, the study found that when consumers lack trust towards their financial institution, they’re less likely to take advantage of services offered—transaction monitoring, email alerts, credit freezes and black market monitoring. As a result, their information could be used up to 75 percent longer by fraudsters.

Pascual further explains, “the worst thing consumers can do is lose trust in their financial institutions and stop playing an active role in working to detect fraud. Taking a back seat will increase their risk and the damages that occurs if they are fraud victims in the future.”

What can you do to minimize identity fraud risk?

To help reduce your risk of identity fraud, here are easy steps to follow:

  1. Secure your mobile device: Apply software updates that patch known vulnerabilities as soon as they are available. Take advantage of the security capabilities within your device: use passcodes, biometrics (fingerprint), encryption, and remote wiping capabilities in the event it gets stolen.
  2. Exercise good password habits: And remember to avoid these passwords! Change your passwords regularly and consider using a password manager—instead of a piece of paper—to keep track of your passwords.
  3. Sign up for account alerts: Take advantage of receiving notifications of suspicious activity. The notifications can often be received by either email or text, and will enhance your financial peace of mind.

Remember that data breaches are not joke. While the number of breach victims fell from its peak in 2014, the risk associated with breaches has not slackened. One out of five data breach victims suffered fraud in 2015—a notable jump from one in seven in 2014.

For more tips on how to protect yourself, check out the tips section on LifeLock UnLocked. And if you want to assess how your behaviors affect your risk of identity fraud, try this free and easy-to-use risk calculator.

Symantec Corporation, the world’s leading cyber security company, allows organizations, governments, and people to secure their most important data wherever it lives. More than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec’s Norton and LifeLock comprehensive digital safety platform to help protect their personal information, devices, home networks, and identities.

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