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50 Percent Rise in ID Fraud Since 2003

Analyst Gartner announced the results in the first week of March 2007 of a survey it had conducted on 5,000 adults in the United States. It said nearly 15 million US citizens were victims of some kind of identity fraud in 2006. According to statistics, there were more than 50% of ID frauds since 2003. That year, the Federal Trade Commission reported 9.9 million cases of identity theft.

The survey found that on average, the loss per incident rose 131% from an estimated US$ 1,408 in 2005 to US$ 3,257 in 2006. Unauthorized access to credit cards increased four times to an average of U.S. $2,550 in 2006 over 2005.

According to Avivah Litan, Vice-President and Analyst at Gartner, hackers are misusing Internet auctions, unregulated money transmittal systems, capability to imitate sweepstake and lottery competitions, and launching various other imaginative scams. ITWeek published Litan's statement on March 8, 2007.

The cyber thieves have found the weak points in the payments systems of United States. Typically, the frail links exist in more than five million businesses that allow consumers to make electronic payments.

The study also shows that 'new account fraud', where fraudsters exploit stolen account data to open new accounts, became twice in proportion from US$ 2,678 in 2005 to US$ 5,962 in 2006.

While all the above frauds exist, it is important that software companies like Microsoft and Cisco focus on developing more secure programs before their products enter the market. Also, Internet service providers should check the condition of users' PCs when they connect to the Web.

Identity fraud has been prevalent in recent months due to which government agencies and enterprises have been suffering network break-in or losing laptops that contained critical information.

The Department of Veterans Affairs said that it lost a hard drive in January this year that had sensitive information of about 535,000 veterans and 1.3 million doctors. When a thief stole a laptop from the office of the Seton Family of Hospitals in Texas, the incident put at risk the identifying information of 7,800 patients lacking health insurance.

Related article: “Loopholes did not cause online banking thefts”: ICBC

» SPAMfighter News - 3/19/2007

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