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Your stolen personal information may still be on file

There is a new victim of identity fraud every two seconds, according to data compiled by Javelin Strategy & Research. The findings from their 2015 Identity Fraud Study indicate that $16 billion was stolen from U.S. consumers in 2014.

The numbers continue to grow, as fraud rings continue to operate successfully. Canny crooks have stolen volumes of personal information, including social security numbers, that they have not even used yet. 

Impersonating bankers

You may think of cyberattacks as the most prevalent forms of fraud, but criminals who specialize in defrauding financial institutions are becoming increasingly creative. For example, an international crime syndicate was unbelievably successful in impersonating bank officers. In so doing, they were able to fleece 100 banks around the world of more than $900 million.

Mobile banking concerns

Mobile banking apps are targets for hackers who want your personal information. Not only will these criminals devise ways to acquire the information on your smartphone, but they may be able to extract the information your device can access as well as the messages you receive. The payment system between your phone and the bank is also a prime target for malware.

Social media risks

Banks use social media platforms to showcase their services. For instance, some permit customers to access their bank accounts through Facebook. While new banking channels of this sort are convenient for users, they are also tempting for hackers.

Big business

Data collected by the Identity Theft Resource Center indicates that more than 175 million records were breached in 2015. If there is any good news about fraudulent activity, it is that fraud only affects a fraction of 1 percent of all credit card purchases according to the Federal Reserve. Merchants and financial institutions absorb most of the financial losses. Nilson Report data shows that in 2015, card issuers took responsibility for 72 percent of all fraudulent losses, and the rest was assumed by ATM acquirers and merchants. 

Still, there is no doubt that identity fraud is a big business. By staying aware of its prevalence, you can be more careful about risks to your own accounts.

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