Stay Smart About Fake Smartphone Apps

Fraudsters go mobile 

Our smartphones send, receive and store tons of sensitive information about us. This includes the information-rich apps we have on our devices. 

With over 6 million apps to choose from across Apple, BlackBerry, Amazon, Android and Windows, a smartphone can virtually perform any function and can hold as much (or more) data as a full-sized computer. 

Of course, criminals will do what it takes to get that data. 

Fraudsters are taking advantage of the fact that many have shifted to mobile services, specifically mobile banking. If you’re like 77 percent of the U.S., you probably own a smartphone and use a number of apps available for your device.

Let’s explore why criminals are turning to fake smartphone apps, how they can exploit those apps to commit identity crimes, and ways to help you safeguard your personal information from these identity crime schemes.

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Synthetic IDs: Great For Fraudsters, Bad For Victims

Identity theft… without your full identity 

It’s called synthetic identity theft. Whether by a phishing scam, data breach, hack or physical theft, your information becomes compromised and falls into the wrong hands. Criminals use this stolen information to mix and match names, birthdays, Social Security numbers and addresses with other fabricated information to create synthetic IDs. Once the synthetic identity is made, criminals can make fraudulent charges to your bank account, open new lines of credit, order prescriptions and even commit crimes under your name. 

In 2014, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) called synthetic identity theft “the fastest growing type of identity fraud in the United States.” Unlike “true name” identity theft, fraudsters only need to use certain pieces of your information — paired with the criminal’s own or fabricated information — to create a new, “synthetic” identity.

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15 Million Consumers Exposed in T-Mobile/Experian Hack

T-mobile/Experian Hack

Update 9:00 a.m. ET: An alternative identity theft protection service is now available to T-Mobile customers. Those interested in enrolling should contact Experian at 866-369-0422. You may also enroll in Experian’s ProtectMyID service using this number.

What happened?

On Thursday, T-Mobile disclosed they suffered a data breach involving 15 million current, former and perspective customers’ personally identifiable information (PII).

The attack was a result of cybercriminals hacking into Experian, a credit reporting bureau and identity theft protection provider who partners with T-Mobile to process credit applications on their behalf. Credit applications are commonly required for financing devices and applying for service plans. Continue reading