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10 Riskest Cities for Identity Theft

November 13, 2007

Where you live does make a difference in how likely you could become a victim of identity theft. Surprisingly, large metropolitan centers in the western part of the US are more vulnerable than on the east coast.

Some of the factors that contribute to high risk are frequent ATM use, internet use, purchasing habits, dining out and credit card use. This information was gathered by Sperling’s Best Places, a company that helps people make decisions on where to live.

Ten Most Risky Cities

  • 1) San Francisco
  • 2) Seattle
  • 3) Denver
  • 4) San Jose
  • 5) San Diego
  • 6) Atlanta
  • 7) Salt Lake City
  • 8) Las Vegas
  • 9) Sacramento
  • 10) Phoenix

Ten Least Risky Cities

  • 41) Rochester
  • 42) Providence
  • 43) Cincinnati
  • 44) Cleveland
  • 45) Virginia Beach
  • 46) New Orleans
  • 47) Birmingham
  • 48) Louisville
  • 49) Buffalo
  • 50) Pittsburgh

Other Notable Cities

  • 13)Los Angeles
  • 14)Dallas – Fort Worth
  • 29)New York
  • 30)Philadelphia
  • 35)San Antonio

 

Identity Theft Statistics – Security Breaches

August 21, 2007

There are a lot of identity theft statistics you need to be aware of. First and foremost is this crime is increasing every year with no signs of a slowdown.

Identity thieves still target individuals but the biggest increase of id theft is in security breaches.  A security breach happens when a thief gets his hands on a laptop or data files with large numbers of personal information. You tend to hear about that on the news a lot lately.

Here are a few statistics to consider:

  • January 2007 – 28 Reported Security Breaches affecting 2,200,000 people
  • January 2006 – 21 Reported Security Breaches affecting 1,000,000 people
  • January 2005 –   3 Reported Security Breaches affecting 50,000 people
  • January 2004 –   4 Reported Security Breaches affecting 31,000 people

The three year trend:

  • Total U.S. Breaches Reported in 2006: 321
  • Total U.S. Breaches Reported in 2005: 131
  • Total U.S. Breaches Reported in 2004:   20

Unfortunately, there’s no way you can prevent your personal information from falling into the wrong hands in cases like this. Here’s a few instances that have happened recently.

  • A lock box with computer backup tapes with medical claim data of about 130,000 Aetna health insurance policyholders was stolen during a break-in.
  • The state of New York had a portion of their website which included residents social security numbers accessible to the public before realizing it. Donald Trump’s number was among them.
  • The names, social security numbers and dates of birth of 26.5 million Veterans were stolen from the home of a Department of Veterans employee.
  • Jax Federal Credit Union in Jacksonville, FL with 7,766 members has its private, non-public information, including social security numbers, exposed on Google’s search engine.

Companies and employees don’t intend for breeches to happen. Many times they go to great lengths to protect the personal information they have collected. Identity thieves continue to be on the cutting edge of technology and are able to hack their way through well-designed firewalls and security defenses.  These guys know what they’re doing and will go to any lengths to succeed in stealing large numbers of identities at once.

Identity Theft Protection is the best way to keep your identity safe. Once it’s stolen, it’s too late.

Don’t become the next victim – protect your identity today.

The History of Identity Theft

August 17, 2007

The History of Identity Theft is all about a booming technology leading to a booming crime.  The year 2000 led us into the Electronic Age. All kinds of sensitive and personal information is now transmitted through the internet.

In the 60’s, 70’s and even the early 80’s, credit card transactions required a clerk to either look through a book to see if your number was listed at ‘bad’ or else they made a phone call to authorize your credit card. This was rather time consuming. People didn’t make too many purchases with a credit card because of the time/convenience factor. With the invention of swiping your card and instant authorization by computer technology, credit card popularity exploded.

The early history of ID theft is closely allied with the history of the credit card. Identity thieve’s first targets were consumers. Credit cards, by their sheer number and indispensable role in consumerism, could be said to have spawned a history of identity theft in America.

In the mid 1990s, 65% of American adults owned, at least, one credit card. That number has since exploded by at least an additional 3 million new credit cardholders each year. After a decade, the history of identity theft was marked by a rapid growth in criminal activities that seemed to be spurred by each new growth in the credit card industry.

By 2005, 67% of all reported identity theft victims complained to the Federal Trade Commission that thieves misused their credit card accounts. That translates into a staggering 6.5 million identity-theft victims in a single year alone.

It is a phenomenon that has displayed itself not only in the history of identity theft and credit cards but in any industry that grows at such a fast rate: it becomes more susceptible to fraud designed by those taking advantage of rapidly emerging opportunities for crime.

Since industry growth happens at lightning speed, businesses cannot adapt fast enough so criminal elements can take advantage of outdated security and laws. This is most apparent in the history of identity theft over the Internet.

New Antivirus software cannot keep up with the rate at which new malware (whose sole reason for existence is to harvest personal information from your PC!) is written. And even the government has found it hard to keep up.

Security breaches, stolen laptops, pre-approved credit offers and dumpster diving have all played a part in the history of identity theft. Too many people have a relaxed attitude or just plain don’t understand the consequences of a stolen identity. Identity theft is here to stay – protect yourself now.

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