August 4, 2017
Fraud-proof your bank accounts with these anti-identity theft hacks
KRISTINE PAYNE–Fraud and identity theft remain among the biggest security hurdles faced by global banks. In fact, a report by Insider Monkey lists a great number of well-established and developing countries where these criminal schemes run rampant. The report lists Mexico, the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates, as well as China and India, as the top five countries where fraud and identity theft continue to cause serious security issues.
Other countries where these criminal activities persist include Canada, Brazil, and Singapore, as well as South Africa and the U.K. According to the report, the most common denominator among these countries appears to be the preference for online banking. The report reveals that online banking provides a fresh trail for hackers to gain access to a user’s personal account and banking history, which in turn makes for a perfect recipe for fraudulent activities.
In the U.S alone, fraud and identity theft unsurprisingly top the most common banking concerns among customers. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book for January-December 2014 report, fraud was the number one banking complaint among U.S. consumers, at a whopping 60 percent. This was followed by identity theft at 30 percent. That report also noted that self-reported victims of fraud lost a total of $1.7 billion. In addition, the report revealed that government documents/benefits fraud was the most common form of identity theft. This was followed by credit-card fraud and bank fraud.
This is how fraudsters steal a user’s identity
According to the information security website Security Intelligence, fraudsters typically create synthetic identities to carry out their criminal activities. The website notes that identity thieves create these fictitious identities by incorporating real and fabricated information. In creating a synthetic identity, fraudsters will typically use a real Social Security number (SSN) and pair it with a name not associated with the SSN. Fraudsters will target numbers that are not actively used such as those of children and deceased individuals. This will then enable them to fake the identity using the SSN details.
The website also reveals that there are three ways that fraudsters use synthetic identities to carry out their criminal activities. According to the website, they scrape data from credit reporting agencies (CRA) when consumers finish a bank transaction. The identity thieves then use the gathered data to execute fraudulent activities such as:
- Building a credit profile and directly applying for credit with a lender.
- Adding an authorized user to an unsuspecting account.
- Using a front company accredited by CRAs in order to obtain a user’s payment history.
Prevent identity theft with these important tips
Capturing identity thieves is often a lengthy process and involves the use of sophisticated technologies. New York-based consumer financial services company Bankrate has shared a few tips to prevent identity theft:
- Avoid oversharing of personal information over social media.
- Exercise caution in handling financial documents.
- Create strong, complicated passwords.
- Be mindful of using unsecured WiFi in processing online banking transactions.
- Check credit card and bank accounts online on a daily basis.
- Be on the lookout for suspicious emails and maintain high alert over phishing scams.
- Maintain anti-virus and anti-malware software.
In addition, using products that inhibit radio frequency identification (RFID) are also useful in protecting your identity. Credit cards, passports and debit cards all contain RFIDs, which can easily be scanned in some of the most inconspicuous places such as at stadiums, airports and train stations. Using RFID-blocking products such as The Ranger Gear RFID Blocking Wallet and The Ranger Gear RFID Blocking Sleeves Pack may prove to be worthy long-term investments to protect yourself from fraudulent activities.