Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Identity Theft On The Rise

Identity theft has always been an issue in our economy, at least as long as there have been schemers and confidence scams. Before the advent of the commercial Internet, it would take a great deal of knowledge and skill to assume another’s identity. It still does however; a decade into the age of the commercial Internet, accessing and making use of personal information has never been easier for cyber-criminals.

Nearly everyone who uses the Internet has experienced an attempt by somebody somewhere to obtain personal identifying information. From phishing expeditions like the phony eBay and PayPay account update emails everyone receives to more complex methods such as the subtle installation of spyware, viruses and worms, criminals have found a nearly open range where they can exploit the carelessness or weakness of others with virtually no one to stop them.

In 2003, the US Federal Trade Commission noted that 1 out of every 25 adults in the United States was a victim of identity theft. That figure is two years old. Since then, we have seen stories about electronic break-ins and the theft of hundreds of thousands of pieces of personal information leak out from data storage and mining firms such as ChoicePoint and Lexis-Nexus. In comparison, the FTC estimated the number of Americans who were victims of credit-card fraud at about 1 out of every 20 in 2001.

Identity Theft on the Rise - Scarier than Click Fraud : Internet Search Engine News