Many people are indifferent to identity fraud as they believe it is non-existent. Yet if the recent reports are to be believed, fraudsters had bumper success in 2016 with new records being set. True, it is not a matter of jest. But it is important to be alive to the presence of identity thefts and other financial crimes. It is closing in on us from all corners and the only way to break free from its sinister clutches is by being alert.
Figures from Reports Globally
One study in US found that there was a 16% rise in incidences of identity fraud, which was the highest rate of increase since 2003. In simpler terms, it means, in US alone fraudsters managed to trick two million more people in 2016 and swindled money to the tune of at least one billion dollars. So you can imagine the magnitude of rise in such kind of thefts.
Another section that saw a huge surge in fraud numbers is online shopping. With chip based cards, EMVs and with new age technologies adding more security features they have made it relatively tougher for thieves to use stolen cards on point-of-sales.
The online segment therefore remains a weak link. Thieves who flick other’s wallets and bags use stolen debit and credit cards for online purchase of goods and paying for services. There has been a marked rise of 40% in such reported cases.
On a brighter note, fraudsters were not able to use the cards at POS as conveniently. Also, people who are tech savvy and use the digitised platforms to shop were able to catch incidences of crime early on. They were able to limit the damage done by acting on it quickly, observed the same report.
While for those who were not so active online were not able to detect these crimes so easily. They were mostly at the receiving end for by the time they realised something was amiss, substantial damage would be done.
It is a combat between the good and the bad. While the technology has managed to keep conmen at bay for some things like early detection of fraud due to unauthorised transaction alerts, EMVs, etc. But fraudsters have also tried to stay one up in the game as they gun for New Account frauds.
New Account frauds entail all such accounts that were opened in your name, using all your details but without your knowledge. The biggest disadvantage of such a crime is that it goes undetected for long.
One of the foolproof ways to detect it is by reviewing your CIBIL report regularly. All your financial activities, no matter what location or lending institution, are recorded with CIBIL. So if you find any untoward activity listed in your records, you can raise an alarm in time and curb the harm done.
In any case, periodically monitoring your CIBIL report helps you to maintain a healthy CIBIL score, which you must sustain at all times. You know it can be difficult to secure a loan for low CIBIL score.
Criminals steal personal information to open accounts in your name and siphon money off to their fictitious accounts. This type of fraud saw an increase of almost 31% in reported cases too.
Billions of dollars lost, millions of data breaches and several more security violations such is how 2016’s identity fraud report can be summarised.
Just because it is present and because each of us have an equal chance of being a victim, does not mean you must not act to prevent it. There are some ways by which you can lower your risk of suffering at the hands of a wrong doer.
Some of the noteworthy points are:
Only if you are alert you can act in time to safeguard your own interests. Be alert, be safe.
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