A woman whose purse is stolen is charged two years later with fraudulently buying prescription drugs. A man’s credit card is stolen, and the thieves charge thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise on his account. A college student is scammed by a cyber thief who scours social media for personal information.
Your family’s cyber and identity theft risks grow more complex each year. In addition to sifting through your trash bin and watching your mail box, criminals today can also use technology to compromise your identity. Think about your morning routine. If you pre-order from Starbucks, buy a paper on the corner using Apple Pay, or use the free gym wifi to pay your bills online, before lunch you’ve shared multiple pieces of information that could potentially be accessed by cyber criminals. According to a report titled, Victims of Identity Theft: 2014 from U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Statistics, 17.6 million Americans age 16 or older were victims of identity theft in 2014. The majority of identity theft victims (86%) experienced the fraudulent use of existing account information, such as credit card or bank account information, and the number of elderly victims of identity theft increased from 2.1 million in 2012 to 2.6 million in 2014.
Criminals will continue to exploit social media and hack into the latest, most popular applications. Security experts continue to familiarize themselves with the latest cyber-exposures, but so do criminals. This paper highlights the cyber and identity theft risks families face and how to implement simple steps to reduce them. Before you install your next app, enter a password, or provide private information, invest a few moments to learn more about the potential consequences to your family — and how to avoid them.