3 Ways Identity Fraud is Getting Harder to Catch

3 Ways Identity Fraud is Getting Harder to Catch

Identity fraud is on the rise. In the past two years, the world has seen a dramatic increase in identity fraud. Rates have spiked during the beginning of the pandemic, and they haven’t gone down since.

COVID-19 served as the perfect storm for the proliferation of identity fraud around the globe. For most of us, the pandemic meant a lot of closed doors, but for others, it meant new business opportunities. While the rest of the world was busy dedicating its attention towards well-being and the economy, fraudsters were busy exploiting new fraud opportunities and avenues for attack. This is attributed not only to the trillions of dollars released as COVID-19 relief, but also the growing reliance on digital identity.

With as many as 1 in every 10 people falling victim to identity fraud, the cause for alarm is not just the seemingly exponential increase in the number of identity fraud. There is another equally pressing reason people should be concerned about identity fraud: it is getting even more difficult to catch!

Package deal: digital identity and identity fraud

Identity fraud is when someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data through some form of fraud or deception and, often,  to obtain some form of economic gain. Among others, identity fraud schemes include credit card fraud, medical supply scams, work from home scams, phishing, and synthetic identity fraud.

As the world continues to seek convenience and find more ways of incorporating digital identity into their daily lives, unprecedented amounts of information find their way to the cloud every day, and issues involving security come to the forefront, as a result.  At this point, it is more realistic to assume that criminals already possess everyone’s sensitive information that is floating on the cloud.

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Innovation is…key?

If there is one thing to keep in mind about people who rely on identity fraud, it is that they are definitely not stupid and they are most definitely creative! These fraudsters continually work to discover loopholes and flaws in established systems, as well as seemingly foolproof ways to exploit them. Fraudsters continue to invent ingenious methods to perpetuate their crimes. These fraudsters tend to target industries that display growth transactions. They are constantly diversifying their targets and using stealthier methods. It is common for fraudsters to change their targets and shift their focus from one industry to another periodically.

Recent trends disclose that identity fraud scams are being designed to trick people into sending money, disclosing their personal information. Impostor scams are also common with fraudsters masquerading as government employees, banks, acquaintances, or relatives. Hacking into computers, phones, and gadgets through the use of spyware or through sending links that introduce malware into these gadgets is an equally popular scheme.

As the landscape changes, these crafty fraudsters also adapt with it.

The tough just got tougher

Think of fraud activities as though there is a hierarchy: bottom-tier, mid-tier, and high-tier.

To the lower tier belong those fraudulent activities that are easily identifiable. The mid-tier houses those which involve errors that are more difficult to spot. Lastly, those which would only be detectable with some form of advanced knowledge rightfully belong to the “hard” fraud category.

Given these fraudsters’ ingenuity coupled with the advancement of technology,  “top-tier” fraud cases have only become harder and more complex.. Consequently, this year’s “bottom-tier” fraud was last year’s “mid-tier” fraud.

Scams and schemes are getting even more sophisticated with each passing year. With the rise of online tools, criminals can  quickly stockpile copious amounts of information on practically anyone. Yes, this includes those answers to security questions, and, yes, virtually no one is safe.

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Fighting fire with fire

With scams getting more complex and sophisticated, putting measures in place to protect yourself is becoming more crucial than ever. Criminals are not the only ones who are clever; a little planning and forethought can go a long way to helping you keep your finances secure. As the adage goes, “the best defense is a good offense.”

Your proven and tested fraud protection schemes are still equally handy and useful. These include monitoring your accounts regularly, installing spyware and virus protection software, and checking out various websites that provide extensive discussion on identity fraud protection.

For business, however, the stakes are even higher as they face not only financial but also reputational damage. It is high time for businesses to become even more vigilant of the various methods that these fraudsters are employing. Business owners must strike a balance between convenience and security, by reassessing and adapting their security measures accordingly, and employing sophisticated security technologies like digital ID verification.

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