There have been more incidents of identity theft from data breaches lately than ever before. In 2013, 61 percent of people who experienced a data breach also experienced a resulting incident of fraud, . In 2010, that number was 1 in 9.
Identity Theft on the Rise, and Likely to Keep Rising
Additionally, identity theft is expected to continue growing. There have been 368 breaches so far this year, an increase of 19 percent year over year, . Over 10 million personal records have thus been exposed to criminals in this year alone so far.
As more data is shared on the Internet, including financial information such as credit card numbers, more data is being stolen, . Point of sale machines are easy to use, but they are also easily hacked. Malware can infect cash registers so that credit and debit numbers are uploaded to a remote server, allowing cybercriminals direct access to data to steal.
The recent breach at restaurant chain P.F. Chang's is an example of this. It has recently confirmed that the data breach had to do with its database of credit and debit cards, although the scope of the attack is still unknown, . Visa and MasterCard have yet to send any alerts to banks about potential frauds from the hack into P.F. Chang's, which leaves room for consumers to be hacked in the meantime if they don't pay close attention to their bank records.
Identity Theft More Common than Violent Crime
Over 16 million people have been the victims of cybercrime, . Additionally, while the majority of victims were able to clear identity theft-related issues up in about a day, 10 percent of victims required a month or longer to deal with identity fraud. Two out of 3 victims did not know how their identity was stolen, and 9 out of 10 victims didn't know who the cybercriminal responsible for the identity theft was.
Now that identity theft is becoming so common, it grows more important that consumers protect themselves by staying informed about the latest breaches and maintaining a close watch on their bank accounts. Being cautious and on the lookout for suspicious activity is the only way to stay safe, and the potential fallout from identity theft on someone's financial resources is too dangerous to ignore.