This Week is All About You
Happy National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW)! We’re going to dedicate this year’s National Consumer Protection Week to spreading awareness about the importance of securing your identity from the threats you face every day.
Your identity is at the core of who you are. But criminals see your identity as money in their pockets. Let’s kick off NCPW 2018 by diving into some of the identity risks out there today, and ways you can combat them in your daily lives.
ID Crimes Get With the Times
Fraud and identity theft are not new concepts by any means. The first recorded instances of identity theft started in the 1930s with voter registration fraud and underage drinking.
Today, fraudsters target many of their victims online. From social media sites to email accounts, online banking and bill pay – criminals have many avenues to choose from.
Fun fact: IBM estimated that more than half of all emails received in 2017 were spam. Messaging platforms like email, Facebook Messenger and Apple iMessage are especially vulnerable to phishing attacks meant to capture personal and financial information.
Your personal and financial information are not the only items caught in the crossfire. Phishing can look like a fake notification from your bank, or a malicious link unknowingly shared by a friend on social media. Malware, or malicious software, can also be attached to phishing messages – causing damage to the device itself. In fact, IBM noted a significant increase in malware phishing attacks since March 2016.
Large-scale data breaches from 2017 like Equifax and Alteryx have put consumers on edge. Javelin Strategy & Research found that 63 percent of surveyed consumers said they were either “very” or “extremely” concerned about data breaches.
Another fun fact: Javelin Strategy & Research noted that Social Security numbers were exposed more in data breaches than credit card numbers in 2017. The unfortunate truth is that any breached data will most likely make its way on the Dark Web.
Fraudsters use the Dark Web to dump large data files to the public or to profit by selling it on black market websites. Last year, 1.4 billion login credentials were found dumped on the Dark Web – allowing fraudsters easy access to the credentials needed for account takeover attacks.
Social Media & Social Engineering
While the two terms may sound familiar, social media and social engineering are Internet and ID crime concepts that can play off each other. The information you store and share on social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat can often leave you vulnerable to targeted social engineering scams.
Social engineering is simply using known information about a victim to target them in various scams. Fraudsters research their victims beforehand to cater scams to their interests.
Identity thieves also know that you are more likely to provide information to someone who seems trustworthy. As such, scammers may impersonate people you know like your favored retailers, bank branch or local politician.
Future Technology Coming Your Way – Biometrics
Biometric security measures refer to any means of identification or authentication using elements of your physical identity. For example, facial recognition and fingerprint scans, as well as voice analysis can be considered means of biometric verification.
Start Celebrating NCPW!
Want to get your NCPW 2018 off to a great start? Use these tips to ensure you’re securing your identity on all fronts:
- Your Social Security number is not the only information you need to protect.
The more information that fraudsters have about you, the more they can do with your identity. Don’t forget that paired with your birthdate and mailing address, your Social Security number can allow fraudsters to open new bank accounts and apply for loans, as well as take over existing accounts in your name.
- Unique passwords are more important than strong passwords.
Creating a strong password doesn’t mean much if you’re using it for multiple accounts. Fraudsters hope you reuse passwords so they can get more by doing less. If, for example, your Netflix password is the same as your banking password, fraudsters only need to crack one set of credentials to gain access to both.
- Your “private” social media profile isn’t that private.
Your social media profiles can reveal more about you than you may think. Information you may consider “public” or “non-sensitive” can still give fraudsters more information about you. Geolocation tags, birthday posts from friends and sports jerseys in photos can capture your location, age, birthday and more.
- There’s nothing wrong with extra layers of protection.
Prevention is the most effective way to stay one step ahead of identity thieves. Enabling multi-factor authentication to online account logins or account activity alerts to your finances can help stop fraudsters in their tracks before it gets worse.
Continue following Fighting Identity Crimes to get the latest breach and scam updates, ID crime news and tips from our industry experts.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of EZShield Inc. alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person or entity, including specifically any person or entity affiliated with the distribution or display of this content.