Identity theft is the fastest-growing type of fraud and a growing source of losses for banks as cyber criminals target the vast array of personal information. You see, giving your information freely out on the web can also make you a target and a possible victim of identity theft. I will be focusing on online personal identity theft and the negative affects it has on the user and businesses as well.
To start our journey into the study of identity theft, we have to look no further than the story of ‘The curious case of Leah Palmer’. A BBC report that entail the story of a woman called Ruth Palmer, and how she fell victim to online identity theft. She discovered that someone created a false persona online using pictures of both her and her family, creating the guise of ‘Leah Palmer’. The persona of ‘Leah Palmer’ was used across different social media sides including: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even the online dating site Tinder.
This is a very common situation that many people find themselves in. A survey done by the guardian found hat 51% of them were victims of identity theft online. Luckily for Ruth, she didn’t find herself fall victim to financial loss or fraudulent activities. However she had to deal with the stress of knowing that someone was using her personal pictures online.
A popularized TV show called Catfish covers people in similar situations to Ruth, victims of identity theft. This is a show I have personally watched, along with my friends and is a situation I would personally dread to be in.
Notorious conman Frank Abagnale has stated that Facebook users are at a high risk of identity theft. This is because it is a site where many of us share our most personal and delicate information including: D.O.B., where you was born, pictures etc. It is clearly highlighted to the different ways we put ourselves at risk.
But how does this affect businesses you may ask? In a recent study it is found that the UK loses more £670m a year with a number of cases going unreported. Identity theft can affect businesses customers and employees. If your customers are victims, it will affect their ability to secure credit. This is also a very big issue as many victims, including Ruth Palmer didn’t know how to go about dealing with her ‘doppleganger’. It is estimated 32% of online identity thefts go unreported.
However, there are a number of ways to avoid being a victim of online identity theft listed below:
Camarda, Thomas. (2015). How Identity Theft Affects Businesses . Available: https://thomascamarda.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/how-identity-theft-affects-business/. Last accessed 25th November 2016.
Jones, R.. (2014). Cybercrime now becoming a serious problem for many Britons . Available: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/oct/21/cybercrime-identity-theft-hacking-abuse-social-media-britons. Last accessed 25th November 2016.
Kleinman, Z.. (2015). Who’s that girl? The curious case of Leah Palmer. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31710738. Last accessed 25th November 2016.
Silver, J.. (2013). 20 ways to keep your indentity safe from hackers. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/may/12/20-ways-keep-internet-identity-safe. Last accessed 25th November 2016.
Sweney, M.. (2013). Facebook users risk identity theft. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/mar/20/facebook-risks-identity-theft-frank-abagnale. Last accessed 25th November 2016.
Yeates, C.. (2016). Identity theft surges. Available: http://www.watoday.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/identity-theft-surges-80-per-cent-as-cyber-criminals-target-online-data-veda-20161124-gswiuc.html?deviceType=text. Last accessed 25th November 2016.