Because we stay in the know, constantly arming ourselves with ways to assist our clients, is most concerned about how computers can sometimes turn our clients into victims. To explain our point, we wish to share some rather scary information with you: every two seconds, another American becomes the victim of identity fraud.
In fact, according to research conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research, the number of identity fraud victims jumped in 2013 to 13.1 million. That was an increase of 500,000 from 2012.
Most often, the media talks about identity theft, which occurs when your personal information is accessed, even if it is not necessarily to be used for financial gain. For example, a person steals your social security number and takes on your identity to hide from their own.
The difference between the two is that identity fraud always involves cases where identity was stolen in order to access money.
One of the main sources of identity fraud is data breaches, such as the computer hacking which affected thousands of shoppers in Target stores and Neiman Marcus stores. Security attacks like these are not only growing in numbers, but also affecting larger retailers. Of those whose identities were stolen during those data breaches, 46% then became victims of identity fraud that same year, when their finances were then illegally accessed. Nearly 30% of personal information in the accounts was also taken over. Accounts in PayPal and eBay were also compromised.
During our years of experience, we have seen more cases of embezzlement and identity fraud than we've ever wanted to see. We stress to our clients that, through the use of digital forensics, our computer forensic experts can find whether your personal bank account information is secure in your computer files.
Our investigators are professional spyware detectors and even better, spyware removers. A computer forensic investigation reveals if spyware has been installed on your computer. If we find this software, it means that every piece of data involving your clients, your personal and business finances and all other personal information is unprotected.
This information may be stolen, copied and deleted without your knowledge. And, it can all be done remotely without your even being aware on your computer or on your mobile phone.
Take seriously whether you have taken every imaginable step to protect yourself. Falling victim to identity fraud can cost more financial and legal headaches than you can imagine. The fall-out can last for years too, as you face the frustrations of trying to get back what is yours, from your money to your name.
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations