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Brian Pennington

A blog about Cyber Security & Compliance

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Identity fraud

More Than 12 Million Identity Fraud Victims in 2012, study finds

Javelin Strategy & Research have released their 2013 Identity Fraud Report with some startling results the scariest being “one in four consumers who receive a data breach letter will become the victim of identity fraud.”

This means the days when a breached organisation would try to keep a breach quiet with the hope that it would go away have gone because the odds are far too high to ignore financial impacts that follow Identity Theft. 

This past year was one where there were both successes and setbacks for consumers, institutions and fraudsters,” said Jim Van Dyke, CEO of Javelin Strategy & Research, in a prepared statement. “Consumers and institutions are now starting to act as partners detecting and stopping fraud faster than ever before. But fraudsters are acting quicker than ever before and victimizing more consumers. Consumers must take data breach notifications more seriously and maintain vigilance to safeguard personal information, especially Social Security numbers

Key findings from the study include:

–  $21 billion was stolen in 2012. Higher than in recent years but considerably lower than the $47 billion in 2004

–  Almost 1 in 4 consumers who received a breach notification letter became a victim of identity fraud.

This underscores the need for consumers to take all notifications seriously. Not all breaches are created equal. The study found consumers who had their Social Security number compromised in a data breach were 5 times more likely to be a fraud victim than an average consumer

–  The stolen information was misused for a variety of fraud types, for example credit cards, loans and mobile phone bills and on average was misused for an average of 48 days during 2012 which is down from 55 days in 2011 and 95 days in 2010.

More than 50% of victims were actively detecting fraud using financial alerts, credit monitoring or identity protection services and by monitoring their account

–  15% of all fraud victims changed their online behavior and avoid smaller merchants

While credit card numbers remain the most popular item revealed in a data breach, in reality other information can be more useful to fraudsters. Personal information such as online banking login, username and password were compromised in 10% of incidents and 16% of incidents included Social Security numbers

It’s not just online fraud or data breaches. More than 1.5 million consumers were victims of familiar fraud, which is fraud when victims know the fraudster. Lower income consumers were more likely to be victims of familiar fraud. The information most likely to be taken via familiar fraud includes name, Social Security number, address and checking account numbers

Javelin have produced some guidance for consumers called the “Seven Safety Tips to Protect Consumers”

Javelin Strategy & Research recommends that consumers work in partnership with institutions to minimize their risk and impact of identity fraud by following a three-step approach: Prevention, Detection and Resolution™.

Prevention

1. Keep personal data private—Secure your personal and financial records behind a password or in a locked storage device whether at home, at work and on your mobile device. Familiar fraud is a serious issue with 12 percent of fraud victims knowing the perpetrator personally. Other ways to secure information include: not mailing checks to pay bills, shredding documents, monitoring your accounts weekly, and protecting your computer and mobile device with updated security software. Use a trusted and secure Internet connection (not a public Wi-Fi hotspot) when transmitting personal or financial information, and direct deposit payroll checks.

2. Look for security features—When paying online be sure you have a secure connection. Two ways you can denote a secure connection are to look for “https” and not just http at the start of the merchant’s web address or a bright green box and padlock graphic in the address bar of most browsers. Check for either one of these before entering personal or payment information.

3. Think before you share—Before providing any sensitive information, question who is asking for the information. Why do they need it? How is the information being used? Do not provide the information if you are unsure about the legitimacy of the request. Be careful when clicking on links that then take you to a page asking for personal information. If an organization asks you for your Social Security number to validate your identity, request another question.

Detection

4. Be Proactive—There are many different levels of identity theft protection and consumers should work in partnership with institutions on identity theft prevention. By setting up alerts that can be sent via e-mail and to a mobile device and monitoring accounts online at bank and credit card websites, consumers can take a more proactive role in detecting identity fraud and stopping misuse. In 2012, 50 percent of fraud was first detected by the victims.

5. Enlist others—There are a wide array of services available to consumers who want extra protection and peace of mind including payment transaction alerts, credit monitoring, credit report fraud alerts, credit freezes and database scanning. 3 out of every 5 identity fraud victims did not know the source of their fraud, but many services will now provide alerts directly to a consumer’s smartphone. Some services can be obtained for a fee and others at no cost to the consumers who are victims of a data breach. These services can monitor credit reports, public records and online activity for signs of fraudulent use of personal information.

Resolution

6. Take any data breach notification seriously—If you receive a data breach notification, take it very seriously as you are at a much higher risk according to the 2013 Identity Fraud Report. If you receive an offer from your financial institution or retailer for a free monitoring service after a breach, you should take advantage of the offer, closely monitor your accounts and put a fraud alert on your credit report.

7. Don’t wait. Report problems immediately—If you suspect or uncover fraud, contact your bank, credit union, wireless provider or protection services provider to take advantage of resolution services, loss protections and methods to secure your accounts. A fast response can enhance the likelihood that losses are reduced, and law enforcement can pursue fraudsters so they experience consequences for their actions.

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2012: “A year of Identity & Fraud” a review by Experian

Experian, a global information services company has posted two summaries of its research and blogs for 2012. I have taken the information that relates to Identity theft and fraud and consolidated it into one post.

In March, Experian revealed its latest research which estimated £1.02 billion worth of online shopping transactions were abandoned the previous year by UK consumers frustrated by old and inefficient identity measures. One in five of these abandoned transactions were not taken elsewhere as individuals cancelled their shopping attempt altogether, resulting in £214 million worth of net lost revenue for UK retailers.

The study, which was conducted for Experian by the International Fraud Prevention Research Centre and included survey data as well as insights from online retailers and the Office of National Statistics, revealed that 44% of UK shoppers had abandoned at least one online shopping transaction in the last year having become frustrated with the length and complexity of certain older forms of identity verification.

Older forms of online identity verification, typically complex, standalone systems drawing on single sources of information to corroborate identity information, are unable to validate as many individuals electronically as modern services. As a result, genuine customers might be forced to call a contact centre, submit physical documents through the post or visit the store or branch to confirm identity. Alternatively, the organisation might choose to accept a lower level of proof, and risk higher levels of fraud, in order to minimise customer inconvenience.

In April, Experian revealed that fraudulent applications for mortgages increased by 8% in the previous year. This was the fifth year in a row in which the rate of mortgage fraud has increased. 34 in every 10,000 applications for mortgages were found to be fraudulent in 2011, compared to just 15 in every 10,000 in 2006.

The overall rate of fraud at point of application across the UK’s financial services sector increased by 4% in 2011, to just over 17 in every 10,000 applications. In addition to record mortgage fraud figures, this overall increase was also driven by growth in insurance and current account fraud. 93% of attempted mortgage fraud in 2011 was down to individuals misrepresenting their personal information on applications. Typically these first party frauds involved falsifying employment status or financial information, and most commonly attempting to hide an adverse credit history.

Experian’s demographic insight revealed that Mosaic groups Terraced Melting Pot (young, poorly educated individuals living in small towns) and Suburban Mindsets (predominantly middle aged, middle and skilled working class individuals) were both responsible for around 15% of first party mortgage fraud cases in 2011. The young, well educated professionals of the Liberal Opinions were also prone to attempting first party mortgage fraud, being responsible for 13% of cases.

Nick Mothershaw, UK&I director of identity & fraud at Experian, comments: “About 70 per cent of financial services application fraud in the UK fraud is down to first parties misrepresenting their circumstances, and the products such as mortgages and insurance that have seen fraud soar over the last year have a significant first party fraud element to them. This kind of fraud tends to originate from financially stressed segments of society.”

  • Insurance fraud. Insurance fraud rates reached 11 in every 10,000 applications and claims in 2011, an increase of 23% over the last year. 89% of insurance fraud was first-party led with the Terraced Melting Pot, Suburban Mindsets and Liberal Opinions demographics responsible for the most instances. Combined they accounted for 43% of cases.
  • Current accounts. The rate of current account fraud increased to 36 frauds in every 10,000 applications in 2011, up from 23 in every 10,000 in 2010. 60% of current account fraud in 2011 was committed by first-parties, almost a quarter (23%) of which was down to the Terraced Melting Pot demographic. The remaining 40% of current account fraud attempts were down to third-party identity fraudsters seeking to open accounts as a springboard to obtain other, more lucrative credit products, or for money laundering purposes.
  • Automotive and credit card fraud rates fall. Not all financial products saw fraud rates increase in 2011. Credit card fraud continued to fall, from 19 in every 10,000 applications in 2010 to 12 in every 10,000 in 2011. The rate at which fraudsters target new credit cards is almost a quarter of the level recorded in 2006, when 45 in every 10,000 applications were fraudulent.  Automotive finance providers have also seen fraud rates fall. 23 in every 10,000 applications were found to be fraudulent in 2011, down from 38 in every 10,000 during 2010. 85% of these frauds were first party.

In May, Experian revealed that Slough had overtaken London to become the identity fraud capital of the UK. The Berkshire town recorded 25 identity fraud attempts for every 10,000 households, with residents targeted at around four times the UK national average (seven households in every 10,000). Residents of London, Gravesend, Birmingham, Luton, Manchester and Leicester were also targeted at twice the national average rate. London as a whole experienced 22 attempts for every 10,000 households, although attempts were not spread evenly across the capital.

Substantial hotspots for identity fraud activity were found in and around London’s Olympic neighbourhoods. Financial service providers detected 78 incidents for every 10,000 households in East Ham, as residents were targeted at more than 11 times the national rate. Woolwich and Stratford also experienced significant identity fraud activity, recording 46 and 43 identity fraud attempts respectively for every 10,000 households.

Whilst the instances of fraud across all financial products remained at a constant level between 2010 and 2011 (six in every 10,000 applications were found to be fraudulent), the data shows that there was a surge in identity theft via current accounts and mortgages during this period, with rates doubling (from six to 14 in every 10,000 applications) and quadrupling (from one to four in every 10,000) respectively.

Identity fraud attempts on credit cards fell from 17 to four in every 10,000 applications.

Fraudsters turn their attention away from the wealthy.

  • For the first time, young people renting small flats from local councils or housing associations represent the demographic most likely to be targeted by identity fraudsters. This group, known in Experian’s Mosaic classification as Upper Floor Living, saw its identity fraud risk score increase by 47% to 256 in 2011. Its constituents are two-and-a-half times more likely than the average UK resident to be targeted.
  • Almost as high on the identity fraud danger list are the Terraced Melting Pot (risk score 242), a group of mostly young people with few qualifications that who work in relatively menial, routine occupations, and live close to the centres of small towns or, in London, in areas developed prior to 1914. The Terraced Melting Pot saw its risk score increase by 75% in 2011.
  • Previously, the wealthy Alpha Territory demographic – representing the wealthiest sections of society living in fashionable London neighbourhoods – were most likely to be targeted. The risk score for this group halved in 2011 (from 301 in 2010 to 149) as fraudsters turned their attentions to younger and less affluent sections of society.

In June, Experian revealed that the financial services industry saw a 16% quarter-on-quarter jump in fraud rates in the period January to March 2012, driven primarily by a significant surge in current account fraud. 19 in every 10,000 applications for financial services were found to be fraudulent in the first three months of 2012, up from 16 in the last quarter in 2011. 44 in every 10,000 current account applications were detected as being fraudulent during the first quarter of 2012, 23% higher than Q4 2011.

The current account extended its position as the most targeted financial product, recording the busiest period for current account fraud ever recorded by Experian. Experian’s data shows that the majority (62%) of current account fraud in 2011 was committed by first-party perpetrators, which typically involves an individual painting a knowingly false portrait of their personal circumstances to obtain services to which they are not entitled. 38% of current account frauds were due to individuals attempting to hide adverse credit histories when opening current accounts or applying for overdrafts.

A further 39% of current account fraud involved product or payment abuse, which included people knowingly attempting to make payments with insufficient funds in their accounts. Attempted insurance fraud increased by 37% quarter-on-quarter, to reach its highest point since late 2009. 13 in every 10,000 applications and claims were detected as being fraudulent during Q1, up from 10 in Q4 2011. 58% of insurance fraud involved some form of product abuse, most significantly the provision of false payment information.

A 56% increase in identity fraud attempts pushed credit card fraud up from 10 cases in every 10,000 applications in the final three months of 2011 to 14 in the first quarter of 2012. Attempted identity frauds on cards leapt from five to eight in every 10,000 applications over the same period.

Nick Mothershaw, UK director of identity & fraud services at Experian, comments: “Experian’s data shows further growth in current account fraud during the first quarter of 2012, mostly emanating from individuals providing false information attempting to open new accounts or obtain overdrafts or making payments they knowingly couldn’t afford. The threat of identity fraudsters seeking to open accounts in the names of unsuspecting third parties, for money laundering or as a springboard to attempt fraud on more lucrative credit products, also remains.  Credit cards have seen a resurgence in identity fraud, while a growing number of financially stressed individuals consider misrepresenting their personal or payment information when applying for insurance, contributing to a significant fraud upswing in the first quarter of 2012.” 

  • Automotive finance. Fraud attempts in the automotive finance sector have declined significantly, down 34% on the previous quarter. There were 18 attempted frauds in every 10,000 applications in the first quarter of 2012, the majority of which were individuals attempting to hide an adverse credit history when applying for automotive finance.
  • Loans. The number of fraudulent loan applications has continued to decrease, reaching the lowest point ever recorded by Experian. Four in every 10,000 applications were discovered to be fraudulent in Q1 2012, 38% lower than the previous quarter. Attempting to hide an adverse credit history continues to be the preferred modus operandi in more than half of attempted loan fraud.
  • Mortgages. Attempted mortgage fraud fell by 5% quarter-on-quarter, with 35 in every 10,000 applications uncovered as fraudulent during the first three months of 2012. Attempting to hide an adverse credit history, misrepresenting employment status and falsifying financial information were the most commonly used tactics employed by mortgage fraudsters during Q1.
  • Savings accounts. Savings account fraud rates were 18% lower in the first quarter of this year than the preceding three months. 12 in every 10,000 applications were found to be fraudulent, with identity fraudsters responsible for more than 80% of cases.

In July, it was reported that fraudsters had traded 12 million pieces of personal information online in 2012, representing a threefold increase on corresponding figures for 2010. Experian data indicated that consumers had an average of 26 separate online logins, but just five different passwords across them all.

Experian advised people to change their passwords on a regular basis and try to make them more complex to keep fraudsters from cracking them.

The full story can be found here.

In August, a special investigation revealed that fraudsters were stealing identities in order to take out multiple mobile phone contracts and walk away with valuable handsets. One man returned from a holiday to discover fraudsters had taken out nine contracts in his name.

Experian said around 200 victims were contacting the company each month for help to restore credit histories that had been damaged by the “mobile communications fraud”.

George Hopkin’s original posts can be found here, part one and part two.

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UK Fraud Report 2012

In April Experian released their 2012 review of Fraud in the UK. There are some interesting findings and a summary of the 28 page document is below.

Executive Summary of the report

  • Annual fraud losses across the UK are now estimated to now top £70 billion
  • Of this around £3.5 billion is in financial services
  • A year-on-year rise of 4% in application fraud rates across all financial services products has been noted – reflecting a trend traditionally seen during downturns
  • Mortgage fraud rose by 8% in 2011, highlighting the level of exaggerated affordability and adverse credit some customers are now trying to hide
  • Insurance fraud has risen by 23%
  • The most significant year-on-year increase in fraud was seen around current accounts, which were up by more than half
  • First party fraud has continued to rise, while third party identity fraud has declined
  • A seasonal uptick in first-party fraud was also noted with significant H2 rises during the run up to Christmas
  • Traditional blue collar and welfare-dependent groups were among the most likely to attempt first-party fraud, as well as now becoming victims of fraud
  • The switch sees fraud moving closer to home and suggests an ‘anyone goes’ approach by fraudsters willing to aggressively pursue more lower-yield opportunities
  • Card fraud and automotive fraud both saw 40% year-on-year falls, suggesting identity capabilities and verification technology are improving
  • Elsewhere, fraud on savings and loan products has seen modest falls within the past year, also reflecting improving industry-wide good practice

Fraud in the UK is now at a record level.   During the past 12 months, Experian estimates it went up by at least 4% and is an industry with an annual turnover that is now estimated to cost the country more than £70 billion.

Mortgage Fraud Rates

  • 2006, around 15 frauds per 10,000 applications were being detected.
  • 2008 the figure stood at around 26 per 10,000.
  • 2011 34 per 10,000 mortgage applications were found to be fraudulent.

Insurance Fraud Rates

At present around 11 frauds in every 10,000 policy application and claims are fraudulent.

The Association of British Insurers is detecting more fraud than ever with more than 2,500 fraudulent claims worth £18 million every week.

The most common frauds

  • Home insurance with 66,000 bogus or exaggerated claims detected
  • Dishonest motor insurance claims with 40,000 frauds uncovered

Of these, motor frauds were by far the most costly, totalling £466 million. As a result, insurance fraud is estimated to now cost £2.1 billion per year.

Current Account Fraud Rates

Within the past 12 months, the rate of current account fraud jumped from more than 20 per 10,000 applications, to around 36 in every 10,000 applications. Around 60% of current account fraud was committed by first-parties, while the remaining 40% was committed by third-party identity fraudsters.

Automotive Fraud Rates

Fraud rates have fallen significantly in automotive finance, dropping from nearly 40 frauds per 10,000 applications at the end of 2010, to around 23 per 10,000 by the end of 2011. The vast majority (85%) of successful frauds were committed by first-parties, possibly reflecting an increasing availability and prevalence towards dealer credit.

Card Fraud Rates

Experian found that during the past two years the overall rate of credit card fraud has also dropped away.

There has been a sizeable swing from third to first-party frauds during 2011. After a stable first three quarters to 2010, the proportion of first party fraud began to rise rapidly, peaking at 70% in Q3 2011. Although the economy is likely to be a factor, with hidden adverse credit and inaccurate salary as the most common reasons given, this trend in behaviour is also partly driven by some lenders’ changes to reporting methodology.

Savings Accounts Fraud Rates

The fall in fraud rates has coincided with a decrease in the average time after application when a fraud was noted, with 75% of fraud being marked within one month of the application.

Towards the end of 2011, lenders began to note more first-party frauds, citing previous payment fraud. The victims are largely the highest earners as they continue to clearly represent the richest pickings for fraudsters.

Loans Fraud Rates

Loans show a slowly decreasing fraud rate, down around 10% on the year but remaining at around seven frauds per 10,000 applications. More than three out of four (76%) loans were marked as fraud within one month in H2 2011, down slightly from 83% in H1 2010.

First Party Fraud – where it occurs

London continues to be the centre of UK fraud, with acute problems in the inner-city boroughs of Tower Hamlets, East Ham and Woolwich. There also London continues to be problem in and around south east London.

The recent trend for a broad westward migration along the Thames Valley and out into the Home Counties has also continued. This is typified by the commuter towns of Reading, Luton and Croydon, which all recorded above average levels of fraud.

Northern Ireland continues to be a disproportionately high-risk region.

Elsewhere in the UK, provincial inner cities including Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Coventry, Leicester, Derby, as well as a triangle of Fenland towns around Peterborough, all showed an uptick in first-party fraud.

Third Party Fraud – where it occurs

The geographic spread of third-party fraud is broadly in line with first-party fraud, although there are far higher concentrations within the London boroughs, inside the M25’s commuter belt and with notable spikes along the Thames Estuary’s gateway towns.   During the past few years there has been a gradual migration outside of Greater London, although more recently the numbers suggest a contraction back into London – particularly around East London.

The fraudsters pattern of behaviour by numbers

  1. The UK’s leading ecommerce businesses say their peak fraud period is from 9pm to 12 midnight. Nearly three out of 10 (28%) companies surveyed cited this period in which most fraudulent orders were put through their site
  2. With thousands of websites to defraud and thousands of institutions offering credit, it’s no great loss to fraudsters when they do get beaten by the embedded defences companies put in place. Fraudsters simply move onto the next site in the list. According to a survey of fraud managers at internet retail operations, seven out of 10 (70%) of retailers don’t report fraud to the police
  3. Fraudsters favour a mid-range attempt that doesn’t arouse suspicion or warrant great scrutiny. Fraud managers have indicated that nearly half (43%) of attempted fraudulent transactions were in the £250 to £500 range, while less than a third (29%) were in the £500-plus bracket
  4. Despite the obvious advantages offered by the online retail environment, many fraudsters still prefer to use a third-party to distribute stolen property, often favouring the convenience and ease of a speedy cash sale to a member within their broadly co-operative fraud networks
  5. Fraud managers have their own online forums to discuss, share information, tips and fraud alerts to work together to beat the fraudster, so it’s unsurprising to find that fraudsters also have their own forums as well. Numerous ‘carding sites’ exist on the web where sets of card numbers, names, addresses and other information any web-literate person can purchase and take home, before attempting their own Card-Not-Present scam.

Download the full copy of the Experian 2012 Fraud Report here, registration is required.

You may also want to read RSA’s April Online Fraud Report 2012

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Big increase in communications fraud

CIFAS, a UK’s Fraud Prevention Service, has reported on frauds recorded by its 260 member organisations during the 9 nine months of 2011.

The report reveals a 34% increase in fraud related to communications products, when compared with the same period in 2010.

CIFAS conclude that some “communications” products, for example smartphones like the iPhone handsets are viewed as essential items rather a luxury items which infers an entitlement to commit fraud.

CIFAS have also seen:

  • 93% increase in impersonation of the victim at their current address, also known as current address fraud
  • 85% increase in the use of completely fictitious
  • 64% surge in identity fraud individuals trying to gain a obtain products or services
  • 20% increase in misuse of facility cases

CIFAS Communications Manager, Richard Hurley, notes:

“The rise in current address fraud alarms because it signifies either that fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated (as it is more difficult to impersonate someone at their address and then try to intercept goods or paperwork), or it demonstrates that friends, family and co-habitees are involved. Allied to the similarly enormous increase in the use of completely false identities, this surely indicates that communications products have become so essential that fraudsters not only obtain goods or handsets to sell on but will also attempt to use any identity in order to avoid becoming liable for bills.”

“nearly 100% of this increase can be accounted for by regular payment fraud, where fraudulent direct debit instructions are given in an attempt to evade the payment of bills. The reality of the situation is that the communications product, device or service has become so embedded in our lives that many of us seem unable to do without them. With sacrifices having to be made by most individuals and households, these figures depressingly indicate that many people feel that, economically, they have no choice but to attempt fraud in order to continue receiving such services.”

CIFAS Notes

  1. CIFAS is the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service, a not for profit Membership organisation with over 260 cross sector Members including banking, credit cards, asset finance, retail credit, mail order, insurance, telecommunications and the public sector. Members lawfully share information on frauds in the fight to prevent further fraud.
  2. The following tables show a summary of communications fraud cases recorded by CIFAS Members, broken down by the type of fraud identified. Definitions are given below the table.
Jan to Sept 2010 Jan to Sept 2011 % Change
Application Fraud 3,679 4,347 18%
Facility Takeover Fraud 5,292 4,330 -18%
Identity Fraud 12,673 20,842 64%
Misuse of Facility Fraud 3,430 4,125 20%
Total 25,074 33,644 34%

13% of Britains are “casual hackers” and 16% have been hacked…

CPP Group
Image via Wikipedia

CPP Group Plc a “life assistance company“ has published its research into people accessing other people’s data without their permission, also known as hacking.

The results are alarming, with “13% admitting they have accessed someone else’s online account details without their permission”.

CPP have coined the term “casual hacking” with Facebook and similar social sites being the most targeted. Further research results are below:-

  • 32% casually dismissed their hacking as something they did ‘just for fun’
  • 29% admitted they did it to check up on their “other half”
  • 8% admitted they were checking on a work colleague
  • 2% were not just “spying”, they were aiming to make a financial gain

16% of people have had their own online password-protected information accessed without their permission

Of those who have had their data accessed

  • 24% have had their personal e-mails accessed
  • 7% claim to have had their work e-mails accessed
  • 19% say their eBay accounts have been hacked
  • 16% had their social networking profiles hacked
  • 10% claim to have had money or a loan taken out in their name

Identity fraud expert from CPP, Danny Harrison said: “People may dismiss checking up on their friend or partner’s accounts as a bit of fun, but in reality they are hacking. Looking at someone’s personal information without their knowledge is a serious act and one that could have serious repercussions both personally and professionally. We would urge everyone to be very careful about sharing passwords and to be vigilant about monitoring their accounts.”

The CPP research also polled the “casual hackers” about their knowledge and attitudes towards tutorials and hacking advice being available on the internet.

  • 17% of people aware of their existence
  • 87% agree that this kind of material should not be available online
  • 63% think ‘hacking’ tutorials should be removed from the internet
  • 56% saying the Government should take action to remove ‘hacking’ tutorials from the internet
  • 59% feel these videos and step-by-step guides increase the risk of identity fraud

Danny Harrison continued: “Hacking presents a risk to consumers and businesses and it is important people take the necessary steps to protect their identities and manage any compromised data. People are concerned about their password protected information being accessed without their permission and we are calling on the Government to review access to these online hacking lessons.”

CPP’s have produced their top tips on protecting your information from hackers:

  1. Change your passwords regularly – the longer and more obscure, the better
  2. Leave a website if you notice strange behaviour (unknown certificates, pop-ups etc.)
  3. Avoid transmitting sensitive data over public (free or otherwise) Wi-Fi
  4. When seeking Wi-Fi connections: know who you are connecting to, be wary of free Wi-Fi access
  5. If using a Smartphone: disable Wi-Fi ‘auto-connect’
  6. If you are concerned about identity fraud, consider purchasing an identity fraud protection product to help you detect, prevent and resolve any incidence of the fraud

CPP’s website can be found here.

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Smartphone users at risk of ID Fraud

Image representing Equifax as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Credit reference agency Equifax has recently released its research into the implications of Smartphone Theft on Identity Fraud.

The findings of the reasearch are very interesting as they show how cavalier Smartphone owners are with their information and Identity.

The highlights of the research are below:

  • 94% of consumers fear identity fraud and theft yet many keep too much personal data on mobile devices
  • 54% of second-hand phones contain personal data including texts, emails and even banking details, identity fraud expert Equifax is urging consumers to think about what personal data they store on their mobile phone and ensure they delete all data from both the phone and SIM card before recycling or selling it
  • 40% of smartphone users also don’t use the passcode function, leaving them vulnerable to ID fraud. And this jumps when looking at the younger generation that have most embraced the new technologies
  • 62% of 22-25 year olds use their smartphone to regularly check their online banking. Yet despite fears about identity theft, 69% do not use a passcode function on their phone
  • 35% admit to regularly clearing their browsing history after they use online banking. It’s also this generation where there’s probably more chance of them having personal items stolen when out shopping or in bars and clubs, making them the perfect target for fraudsters

 EQUIFAX’S SMARTPHONE SECURITY TIPS

  • Always use the PIN function on your handset
  • Don’t store reminders of passwords on your phone
  • Think about which accounts you access from your phone – would it be better to wait until you’re at the security of your home
  • Wipe browser history, especially if reviewing online banking
  • Keep an eye out for malicious software masquerading as apps
  • Keep your smartphone safe at all times
  • Delete all personal information from the phone and the SIM card before recycling or selling your phone

Read the full press release here.

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