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Risk of ID theft rises during holiday season

Dec 12, 2011 Karen Umpierre

The holiday season tends to be the busiest time of year for both retailers and consumers. Identity thieves recognize this, and may use the constant swapping of credit card information as an opportunity to commit identity theft. Holiday spending has already increased this year compared to 2010, as the National Retail Fund revealed more than 226 million U.S. consumers took advantage of Black Friday discounted deals, KOTV-TV reports. Cyber Monday also saw purchases surpass 2010 levels. Shopping in-store was found to be more dangerous for women than men. According to a Javelin Research study, females have a 94 percent incident rate of ID theft when making in-store purchases, compared to just 43 percent for males. Researchers added that most known cases of fraud aren't committed online, but rather when the criminal has direct, physical access to the victim's information. Furthermore, 43 percent of theft cases are the result of a stolen wallet, checkbook or credit card. To further put the risks into perspective, a recent LexisNexis study revealed that retailers are losing more than $100 billion to fraud losses each year.