According to the Federal Trade Commission, financial losses due to fraud grew to 3.3 billion dollars in 2020 – a startling figure. Identity theft accounts for a large proportion of fraud cases. It can impact organizations and individuals alike and represents a threat to the paper-thin integrity of financial systems worldwide.
Getting to know the different kinds of identity theft that take place today is a good start for anybody looking to protect themselves or their organization. Here is a quick introduction to some of the most prevalent kinds of identity theft.
Driver’s License Identity Theft
One of the often overlooked types of identity theft, driver’s license identity theft, can have some very serious consequences indeed. The information on your driving license can be used by fraudsters to open back accounts, scam government benefits, or file false tax returns. If you lose your driving license, you need to report it immediately if you don’t want your accounts to be compromised by enterprising thieves.
Criminals are becoming more sophisticated in their approaches to impersonating company employees in order to scam money over the phone. A team of scammers recently used AI technology to impersonate the voice of a company CEO and demand payment into an account from hapless employees. The rise of ‘deepfakes’ – AI-augmented vocal and facial impersonations – is a new mode of identity theft that is proving extremely hard to counter.
There are two major types of loan fraud that involve identity theft. The most common involves the falsification of identity in order to take out a loan before melting away with the cash – and no intention of paying it back. This often leaves the person or company that is being impersonated in a huge amount of debt.
The other kind of Loan fraud is a truly nefarious type of scam that targets some of the most vulnerable people in the United States. Scammers will advertise quick pay loans with ridiculously good terms while using a stolen identity. Victims will pay an upfront cost to a loan shark and never receive the loan that they have ‘purchased’.
Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud is the most common kind of identity theft, accounting for around 41.8 percent of cases. Broadly, credit card fraud achieved through identity theft involves criminals making purchases or withdrawing money from an account that is not legally assigned to them. There are plenty of ways in which criminals can impersonate an account holder, and whole dark web sites dedicated to selling credit card identity details to criminals for the purposes of theft. The size of this secretive industry is startling and is enough to make any credit card owner think twice about sharing their details. Vigilance is the best weapon against this kind of identity theft. Never give away your credit card details online without being sure that you are on an encrypted and secure website. Sharing credit card details over messenger services or on public sites is a recipe for disaster.