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US – Identity Fraud Rise to a Peak Level in 2009

Javelin Strategy and Research released its 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report on February 10, 2010. The report states that during 2009, the total number of identity fraud victims across the US showed the highest ever increase in just one year since the survey began dating 2003.

The total number of ID fraud victims in the US leaped to 11.1 Million adults - nearly 5% of the total US adult population. Simultaneously, the total amount of fraud rose 12.5%, accounting for $54 Billion.

According to the report, fraud is carried out via utility accounts and checking accounts. These attacks use malware that often takes time to get detected compared to card-based theft.

Moreover, there was over twofold increase in the total number of online accounts opened fraudulently during 2009. The number of fake e-commerce accounts via Amazon and eBay rose 12% out of the total fake accounts newly created during 2009.

Notably, millenials (people in the age group 18-24 years) had greater chances of experiencing misuse of accounts through social-networking websites.

After fraudsters gather information, 42% of cyber thieves use it to conduct online or in-person shopping, while 21% exploit the information to buy items via e-mail or over the telephone, said the report. Some purchase pre-paid cards or acquire health services using the stolen data consisting of names, Social Security numbers and birthdates. Another 10% of the thieves write checks or withdraw money from ATMs.

Defrauders, many of whom represent the criminal gangs of Eastern Europe, are reportedly employing more advanced and sophisticated attack methods compared to those of the past. Nonetheless, criminals continue to use computer worms, malicious e-mail campaigns, or other tactics pertaining to the digital world for monetary gains.

Besides, the report states that owners of SMBs (small-and-medium businesses) suffer from ID fraud at the rate of one-half times than all the remaining adults. When they use personal accounts to carry out business transactions, they put themselves in bigger danger of identity fraud.

Hence, Internet users are advised to proactively protect their PCs and private data from attacks by high-level criminals.

Related article: US Passes Baton to Asia in Spam Relay

» SPAMfighter News - 19-02-2010

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