A new study conducted by an insurance company says, despite the increased use of the Internet being used to conduct business, that offline schemes are the top known causes of identity fraud.
All too often we hear about the numerous ways people experience both identity and financial fraud online. A new study from Travelers insurance states that offline methods of fraud are the most common causes of identity fraud, notes a recent press release.
The company studied 2011 data; here is a breakdown given by Travelers:
• According to Travelers, stolen and misplaced items, such as wallets, purses and computers, accounted for the most known cases of identity fraud in 2011.
• Stolen or compromised personal identification accounted for the second highest number of identity frauds in last year's data. This data included driver's licenses, Social Security cards and other forms of personal identification.
The above two categories comprised a whopping 73 percent of claims.
• Burglaries. Theft ranked in at number three for the reasons people were faced with stolen identity related problems.
• Travelers said that cyber breaches (15 percent) and online scams were next and forgeries (10 percent) was next on the list. "Dumpster diving" and fraudsters going through mail were also cited as causes of identity theft. Change of address scams/postal frauds were cited at two 2 percent.
“When everyday essentials, like wallets or drivers licenses, are stolen or go missing, identity fraud often follows,” said Joe Reynolds, Identity Fraud Product Manager at Travelers in the press release. “Credit cards, drivers licenses and other sources of personal information enable criminals to commit a fraud or crime, all in your name.”
Reynolds noted people often do not immediately know they are the victim of identity fraud. He recommends people carefully review their monthly bank statements in order to detect any odd behavior quickly and report it to the bank.
A recent release of findings reported by ID Analytics (via Security Week) said that over 10,000 identity fraud rings are active in the United States; many of these are run by thieves that operate in groups of family and friends, as opposed to organized crime.
The study indicated that many identity theft rings operated out of the southeastern portion of the U.S., although Washington, D.C. region was also given a mention. Additionally, it was found an increased number of identity thefts occur in rural regions.
Earlier this year, Digital Journal reported an increased number of incidences of ATM and pay-at-the-pump scams in rural areas.