News & Resources

Common targets becoming more at risk of identity theft

Aug 07, 2013 Dave King

Identity thieves have appeared to choose their top targets and find new ways of stealing information from certain demographics throughout the past several decades. The elderly, young children and small businesses have all become the most at risk of identity theft in the United States and abroad, as these parties are often easily hacked and highly profitable over time.

For this reason and more, businesses need to establish the most advanced ID verification protocols and implement necessary technology to slow the rate of identity theft crimes. By understanding that small businesses, the elderly and young children are the favorite targets, companies can tailor verification and security policies to increase protections for these individuals and firms.

Geographical risks
Consumer Affairs recently reported that Florida has become one of the states that is most affected by identity theft rates, while the high population of senior citizens is likely one cause of this fact. For example, California, Arizona and a variety of other states that are common homes to retirees are all in the top areas where identity theft runs rampant.

According to the news provider, the crime has been around for decades, though hackers and other threats are using novel methods to steal sensitive information and set up fraudulent accounts. This has sent the rate of identity theft higher than ever before, while some studies indicate that the crime costs public sector organizations, businesses and individuals hundreds of billions of dollars every year.

The source explained that 13 of the top 20 markets for identity theft can be found in Florida, while analysts believe that the crime will be more likely to be more prevalent in areas with dense consumer populations. Miami had the most number of complaints within any U.S. city last year, with 35,914, which is substantially higher than the next area, New York City, with 23,297.

Consumer Affairs cited Federal Trade Commission data that indicated, Miami, New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Tampa, Dallas, Detroit, Houston and Philadelphia had the highest rates of identity theft last year.

The news provider added that identity theft methods, both new and old, continue to fool businesses and public sector organizations constantly. Between hacking and stealing mail, thieves are making a good living off of fraudulent accounts set up in victims' names.

More progressive defense necessary
Fox Business recently listed several ways in which consumers and businesses can fight against identity theft more progressively, including placing security freezes on accounts when abnormalities are discovered. Fraud alerts have also been found to be fairly helpful, and would include a financial services provider contacting the card holder when strange transactions have been made.

Additionally, regularly checking credit scores is one of the best ways to discover an instance of identity theft - both corporate and consumer - as dramatic drops or new outstanding loans will be more identifiable. According to the source, businesses should learn how to check their credit scores for evidence or indications of potential identity theft crimes.