Jun 25, 2013 Dave King
In recent years, law enforcement officials and federal regulators have increasingly viewed identity theft as an economic and social epidemic, as the prevalence and associated damages of the crimes continue to intensify. Enterprises continue to be the first line of defense against these thieves, and can minimize risks through the creation, implementation and oversight of effective ID verification protocols.
While the national rate of identity theft in the United States has grown less dramatically in the past three years, likely the result of increased efforts to secure personal information, some states have experienced massive increases. Consumers and businesses in these states, such as Arizona, Florida and Delaware, need to be especially vigilant when protecting financial information, as well as any data that can be used to steal corporate or personal identities.
Delaware falling behind the curve
WBOC 16 recently reported that Delaware residents are at a higher risk of experiencing an identity theft incidence than ever before, as criminals continue to target the state more regularly. Credit card theft, as well as stolen mail, have been among the more common ways in which the criminals steal identities from Delaware residents, as well as victims around the world.
According to the news provider, identity theft incidents have increased by 33 percent nationally in the past eight years, leading local, state and federal law enforcement officials to strengthen defenses against the crimes. In Dover, Del., officials at the local police department stated that they receive complaints related to identity theft on a daily basis.
The source explained that law enforcement officials now believe that senior citizens are at the greatest risk, as thieves seem to be targeting that demographic more regularly than any other. This might be the reason behind the increasing prevalence of identity theft in states like Arizona and Florida, where senior citizens make up greater percentages of the population than other states.
WBOC 16 spoke to Detective Ernie Roswell from the Dover Police Department about which groups are at greater risk, as well as other general themes and consistencies that have surfaced. He asserted that the criminals have a variety of common tactics, including dumpster diving for disposed mail that contains personal information, as well as cold calls during which the thief pretends to be a representative from a credit card company.
"One tip that I can give people is if you're in a situation where you have to hand your bank card or your credit card to someone and they walk away, I would advise using a credit card," Roswell told the news provider. "If a device is attached to the card and it's skimmed and a duplicate card is made, you're dealing in credit as opposed to money coming directly out of your bank account."
ID thieves targeting businesses
While one might believe that identity thieves generally look to steal money from individuals, corporate ID theft has increased in prevalence as well. Reuters reported that corporate identity theft can lead to significant damages, and companies need to ensure that all data is kept safely out of harm's way to prevent these risks.