10 Types of Identity Fraud and Theft
Ever since the advent of the internet and the smartphone, our identities have been recreated in the virtual world.
From online banking to online shopping, there’s plenty of place that require our personal information. Any unwarranted usage of our identity information could have catastrophic results on your savings and even your life.
We have witnessed some terribly shocking and disappointing tales of identity theft in the past, but the specter of identity theft and a lack of privacy is only growing. With new applications of wireless technology and other functions like the Internet of Things (IoT), our virtual fingerprint is required in more places than before. Even if most of these places are secure and our personal information is encrypted, there are ways people commit fraud to steal from individuals as well as organizations.
Looking at it from the perspective of a perpetrator, the scope of theft has only increased in the last decade. The more we use smartphones and the internet for our daily needs, the more our personal information is replicated. In 2016, victims of identity theft in America crossed the 154 million mark, as stated by Javelin Strategy and Research. That number is quite alarming and calls for action. Let’s take a quick look at ways in which identity theft and fraud takes place these days.
When the United States Postal Service reported they received over 60,000 complaints of mail theft in 2016, it pointed to a serious problem that a lot of Americans were facing.
A lot of important information is distributed through the mailing system. Frequent loss of mail might be one sign of fraudulent activities through mail-identity theft, where thieves set up new credit card accounts or change addresses on bills in order to capitalize on your gains or use your account to spend money for themselves.
Credit and Debit Card Fraud
One of the most commonly used details online these days is your credit or debit card account information. Everything from flight tickets to ordering food requires these details. Hackers and thieves are waiting to make purchases of their own and authorize them through your account. Sometimes they only need only your account details and the CVV to authenticate transactions – something that is known as “card-not-present” fraud.
Online Shopping Fraud
Another type of fraud that has gained extreme popularity in recent times is online shopping fraud. This is when someone fraudulently acquires payment information of another person to authenticate retail transactions without that person’s kno
wledge. These items might be of extremely high value charged on credit cards to be paid in the future, or might be items shipped to another address which are then sold or used for illegal activities. Such fraudulent behavior is
noticed in the e-commerce business frequently, so much so that recent reports suggest that the same has increased more than 30% in the first half of 2017.
Account Takeover Fraud
This occurs through credit or debit card information as well as certain email scams that attract innocent people to share information, that is then used automatically to collect money. Phishing scams and malware attacks are other common ways to gain access to account information. Essentially, criminals gain access to your credit card information or your bank account. They levy a plethora of charges or fees that are disguised under several names or labels. This is why people often get credit locks on their accounts and are vigilant about random charges that are levied in their statement. If you sense something fishy, inform your bank or financial institution and they will help you clear the mess so you don’t lose more money than you already have.
Criminal Identity Theft
Criminal identity theft occurs when someone uses another person’s ID while dealing with law enforcement or the police. When stopped for any charge like speeding, or even when they are arrested and charged with a bigger crime, these criminals use fake identities to show clean records as well as create a whole other identity in order to defraud the enforcement agency and the victim. You would come to know about something like this when there would be a warrant out for your arrest the next time you are caught speeding and none of it would make any sense to you. It has happened before and could happen again! If you think you might be affected by this, take a moment and go through a few identity theft protection products that are available for the safety of citizens.
Driver’s License Theft
One of the most common types of identity theft might take place when your driver’s license gets stolen or misplaced. The driver’s license information can then be used to waive off several criminal charges like speeding and accidents, but also to misidentify themselves in bigger crimes that would then be charged to your name.
Synthetic Identity Theft
Synthetic identity theft is one of the newest and most dangerous forms of theft that works on creating a new identity based on information collected from various sources. The Federal Trade Commission states that it is one of the fastest growing types of fraud, representing 80 to 85% of all identity fraud. Real and fake data is intertwined and merged to create completely new identities that are then sold on the dark web for people to exploit and do anything with. They can start a new life or fund just about anything that they wish through these identities that can go at a premium rate on the dark web. One indicator that shows that this might happen is getting mail that is addressed to someone else but delivered to your doorstep. If you find such speculative acts happening to you, do a dark web email scan for free and make sure your email is not being used anywhere.
New Account Identity Theft
This type of theft is a mix of synthetic identity theft and an account takeover. Fraudsters gain access to account information that is merged with personal information acquired through synthetic identity theft to create new accounts that can fund several activities. Not only this, if you have a good credit history and an established rapport with the lenders, it might be much easier for them to breach and exploit the relationship through your details. Lenders will often send messages and emails regarding account activity that we often overlook as spam. It might be worth looking into these just to make sure there is nothing untoward that is going on with your credit history and your account.
Social Security Identity Theft
After the security breach that took place at Equifax in 2017, tensions amongst Americans have been rising when it comes to identity theft. One of the most important indicators of your identity is your social security number. Your credit history, as well as your personal information including medical details, are stored behind this number. Security breaches at places such as Equifax have exposed millions of social security numbers to criminals who could use the same to fund terrorist activities as well as authorize illegal transactions on the dark web. Criminals can also use good credit history to get loans and other credit that they can use for any activity they like. Such theft occurs largely due to cyber-security breaches and IT fraud, and can affect just about any business or any person who has a social security number.
Fraudulent behavior associated with lending and borrowing has crippled the American economy in the past and has been witnessed in various forms. Fraudulent behavior of this type may occur through identity theft as well as lying on forms that are used to approve capacity of repayment. It often occurs in the real estate business, lending and the automobile business.
Loan Stacking Fraud
Loan stacking fraud occurs when a series of loans is made out to a fake borrower based on information that looks verifiable but is actually fake or fraudulent in nature. Due to the lack of stringency in screening at several online marketplaces for lending, loans are often approved for people who might not be able to pay these back on time. If a series of loans is taken out in someone else’s name by a criminal, the other person might be in a massive debt without any knowledge of having signed up for any of these loans.
Often renowned as part of the reason behind the crash of the housing market and the economy a decade ago, mortgage fraud occurs when a borrower intentionally lies on a mortgage loan application in order to avail a loan or a larger loan than what would have been approved had they not lied. This has taken place quite often in the recent history of the country and amounts to great losses for institutions when the time to repay these loans comes close. It has also been dubbed as one of the silent killers of the economy that was witnessed just a decade ago.
Auto Lending Fraud
When someone does what has been explained as mortgage fraud to buy a car in their name, it can be referred to as auto lending fraud. When a consumer or an auto dealer indulges in applying or accepting incorrect details to verify a car purchase, they are indulging in auto lending fraud. It is often the case that a car dealer wants to offload cars and make their money, due to which they are not as strict when it comes to verifying repayment capacity. This generally happens to small dealers and those who are looking for shortcuts to get a car without being heavily scrutinized. This sort of fraud has become less frequent after the crash of the automobile market recently.
Child and Senior Identity Theft
In 2016, it was reported that over 37% of 60-plus-year-old Americans had complained about fraudulent behavior. As older Americans stop checking their accounts over time, they become prone to identity theft. Child identity theft is also common, though not as much as senior identity scams. Criminals use data of children to open new accounts or apply for benefits. Both these types of crimes occur due to a lack of vigilance when it comes to account monitoring, and can take place just about anywhere and in any business, but is usually observed in smaller businesses.
Medical Identity Theft
When you hear that more than a quarter of the data breaches in 2017 were related to the medical sector, it opens your eyes to its prevalence. When people use another person’s identity to fund medical services, it is known as medical identity theft. People often are not aware of this until they receive bills that are statements of care provided through government schemes or even privately. This might lead to an enormous bill named to you. You can avoid this by keeping track of all your claims and being vigilant about the information you receive regarding your medical benefits.
Internet of Things (IoT) Identity Theft
One of the newer forms of theft is in the sector of Internet of Things – wireless services that connect devices to appliances like cars, home appliances and other everyday instruments. Hackers can tap into these streams and hack your smartphone to auto-start your car and drive away with it, or lock your house while you are still inside. Make sure your wireless data streams are secure and encrypted to avoid such breaches.
Having discussed the large variety of identity thefts and fraud that are common these days, you need make sure you’re safe. Both as a customer and as a business. Make sure you do not share your personal information with anyone who does not require it and try keeping off unsecured and untrusted sites as much as possible to avoid being caught in a trap. Apart from this, we live in a world where the chances of such scams are increasing by the day, that’s why we created Fully-Verified – to prevent business identity fraud from happening to your business.