News & Resources

Cyberattacks can lead to identity theft

Oct 22, 2013 Dave King

Cybercrime has increased in frequency in the past couple years and can put consumers at risk of identity theft.

California State University at Sacramento recently experienced an incident that led to Social Security and driver's license information of 1,800 employees being compromised, according to the Sacramento Bee.

After a problem was discovered with a sever in the school's risk management office in August, the university immediately shut the server down to investigate the source of the issue. In late September, it was found that an outside hacker gained access to the system and personal information was stolen.

With cyberattacks becoming a bigger issue in terms of identity theft, financial institutions such as short term lenders should provide customers with a list of potential signs of this crime. Additionally, ID verification procedures need to be strengthened to ensure that applicants are who they say they are.

One of the first signs that a consumer has been targeted in an identity theft ring is finding errors on a bank or credit card statement, according to U.S. News & World Report. For example, there may be an unexplained withdrawal or purchase.

Another place to look for mistakes is on a credit report. If there are any accounts opened that aren't recognizable, people may be a victim of identity theft. Consumers are entitled to a free credit report from all three major bureaus each year, so there is no excuse why they can't check this document for errors a few times each year.

Another warning sign lenders should share with customers is receiving collection calls about accounts that are in good standing. Being aware of these signs can be a great help, as it is important to catch identity theft early on to prevent damage.