|As Cyber-Crime Surges, ID Theft Protection Needed|
|News - Technology|
|Written by Mediabharti Syndication Service|
|Saturday, 17 October 2009|
Washington (USA): According to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center report, US Internet fraud losses reached a record high $264.6 million in 2008, with over 275,000 complaints received by the Internet Fraud Complaint Center. This figure dwarfs the $18 million in losses reported in 2001, with the trend continuing in 2009: February to March 2009 show a 50% increase in reported Internet fraud complaints in the US.
“These numbers are shocking, but it is important to note that the vast majority of ID theft goes unreported, so the actual threat is probably much more common than even these huge figures would lead us to believe,” says Justin Yurek, President of ID Watchdog, Inc., the most comprehensive consumer identity monitoring service available. “I predict continued growth in this crime as the economy remains stagnant in this recessionary cycle.”
Internet fraud includes everything from phony sales on auction and classified sites such as eBay Inc. and craigslist.com to smaller scale version of the Ponzi scheme perpetrated by disgraced New York financier Bernard Madoff. One new Internet identity theft scam involves e-mail messages that have the appearance of originating from the FBI or other federal agencies that seek the recipient’s bank account information in order to help with illegal wire transfer investigations.
“This report underscores the rampant growth of identity theft across the board from not only high-tech but also low-tech sources,” says Mr. Yurek. “With ever-evolving methodologies used by identity thieves, the average consumer requires a broad-based protection services to help monitor for instances of fraud.”
Identity theft is now the fastest-growing crime in the United States—with nearly ten million Americans victims of some form of identity fraud each year. And, even if consumers make a conscious effort to protect their credit card information, it might be surprising to learn that fully 80% of identity theft is unrelated to credit fraud. Phone and utilities fraud, bank and loan fraud, employment and government document fraud, and medical records fraud represent perhaps even more pernicious forms of ID crime. “A compromised identity can follow a person for years, preventing him or her from securing employment, tagging them with a criminal record, throwing them into a higher tax bracket, or worse, and the work of repairing that damage can be a bureaucratic nightmare,” says Mr. Yurek. “And, while most identity theft protection services focus solely on ID monitoring, that is just half the story. As Internet fraud and identity theft crime becomes more and more prevalent, the need for a consumer advocate in this space has never been more pressing.”
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