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Mobile explosion increases ID theft risk

Apr 13, 2012 Karen Umpierre

The recent data breach of electronic payment processor Global Payments highlights the increased electronic payments risk consumers face today. Last week Forbes reported that Global Payments - one of the biggest processors of MasterCard and Visa transactions - suffered a breach that affected as many as 1.5 million credit card holders in North America. According to a recent Javelin Strategy and Research study, risk of online ID theft has increased after a slight dip in 2010. Specifically, researchers found that there was a 13 percent rise in 2011, in which 11.5 million adults became fraud victims. Experts attribute the jolt to increased banking and shopping on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, as well as the rise in information sharing on social networks. Signing on using unsecured WiFi or haphazardly posting sensitive information on sites like Facebook or Twitter leaves consumers vulnerable to electronic ID theft. However, Javelin president James Van Dyke remains positive for the future. "The study found specific opportunities for improvement," he said. "Consumers must be vigilant and in control of their personal data as they adopt new mobile and social technologies in order to not make it easier for fraudsters to perpetrate crimes." If consumers don't change their bad habits, their financial information will remain at risk.