CHANTILLY, Va., Feb. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent study conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research, has found there were 12.6 million victims of identity fraud in 2012; a one million increase over the previous year. The report also found the total amount of fraud increased to $21 billion, the largest loss suffered in the past three years, and an increase of nearly $3 billion from the 2011 study. Data from the report indicated one in four consumers who received a data breach notification became a victim of identity theft, with Social Security numbers being the most damaging piece of personal information stolen.
As a co-sponsor of this year's study and a leading provider of consumer and corporate risk management services, Intersections Inc. (NASDAQ: INTX) remains committed to the prevention of identity fraud and encourages consumers to be vigilant when it comes to the protection of their personally identifiable information.
"There are a lot of mis-perceptions about identity fraud but with fact-based studies like this, consumers, financial institutions and service providers can be empowered to work together to help combat the threat of identity fraud," said Steve Schwartz, President of Partner Services for Intersections Inc. "Fraudsters are becoming savvier, especially as our society becomes more reliant on instant gratification through the usage of the Internet and wireless devices. We simply cannot fight this battle alone and must continue to partner together to continuously enhance our existing capabilities and provide the tools and resources needed to help consumers protect what's most important – their identity."
Intersections Inc. has put together tips for consumers to help guide them in the protection of their personal information.
- Protect Your Information. Exposing common information like birthdates and addresses puts consumers at a greater risk as these elements are commonly used by financial institutions for security questions and validation of identity to access accounts. Even such seemingly harmless information could be valuable to experienced identity thieves.
- Be Social, But Be Smart. Knowing that social networks are a hotbed for identity fraud activity, consumers should take extra care when deciding who to connect with and what applications to accept. Users that approve friend requests from strangers and use GPS/location based applications are far more susceptible to fraud.
- Take Caution with Mobile Computing. The convenience of online and mobile banking is here to stay, but consumers need to take the extra step of ensuring their network connection is secure and their devices have updated security. Never access your banking information through public Wi-Fi. Instead, use your carrier's cellular service.
- Be an Active Party in Detection. Identity fraud is more than just the victimization of credit card information. Take advantage of enrolling in a comprehensive identity protection service like IDENTITY GUARD® Platinum, which not only monitors credit reports but also scans public records and online activity for signs of fraudulent use of personal information. Consumers have the extra security they need to help keep them protected.
- Act Quickly. The sooner a victim learns of the fraud, the sooner their road to recovery can begin and the likelihood their losses will be reduced. Consumers must remain alert and act quickly in the event they notice suspicious activity, reporting it to their financial institutions and law enforcement.