Identity theft Expert Robert Siciliano

Study shows identity theft as it pertains credit card fraud is Americans number one concern.

When anyone ever asks me “How do I protect myself from credit card fraud” I say “Cancel the card or never use it.”. Because that’s the only way.

Personal security as it pertains to violence and national security has always been a concern. However this new study creditcards shows that people are more concerned with fraud and their savings depleted by scammers. Not so hard to believe with the amount of data breaches and Madoffs of the world fleecing unsuspecting investors.

Seventy-five percent of Americans feel the recession has increased their chances of being victimized by criminal hackers and thieves. Most are also concerned their “private” information on a corporate or bank network may be compromised.

FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) 2008 Annual Report, determined online fraud increased 33.1 percent last year. Dollar losses due to online fraud increased to $265 million.

Overall the concerns are valid due to flaws in the system of issuing credit, making it very easy for new account fraud. Further, account takeover requires nothing more than access to credit card numbers which are available in hacked databases or every time you hand your card over to a gas station attendant.

Viruses in spam or phishing emails continues to plague consumers and the chances of getting hooked phishers increase as scammers get more sophisticated.

Banks and business will continue to feel the pressure as criminals target their clients data.

Credit card skimming at ATMs and gas pumps makes it impossible to protect yourself when you are essentially handing your digits over to a criminal.

Skimming is one of the financial industry’s fastest-growing crimes, according to the U.S. Secret Service. Also, the worldwide ATM Industry Association reports over $1 billion in annual global losses from atmskimmercredit card fraud and electronic crime associated with ATMs.

Marite Ferrero a blogger with Finextra adds “In Europe, the points of compromise are everywhere : ATM, gas pumps, parking, dvd rentals, movie tickets, food kiosks, tolls, buying metro tickets, and the list goes on… Because of chip and pin implementation, the proliferation of stand-alone terminals that accept chip and pin has provided a profitable playground for fraudsters.”

While the card holder is generally only responsible for the first $50.00 in losses, which is often waived as a “zero liability policy”, card holders who don’t pay attention to their statements often let these charges pass and eat them.

There are many technologies available to secure credit cards, such as “smart cards” and ‘chip and pin”. However due to the nature of a credit card transaction, once the data leaves the card, it’s up for grabs and whatever card security their may have been, is gone.

Check your credit and banking statements carefully. Scrutinize every charge and refute any unauthorized charges within 30-60 days. Call your bank/credit card company immediately if you see any fraudulent activity.

Invest in identity theft protection for free or a small fee. Either get a credit freeze or a fraud alert to prevent new account fraud.

I’m excited to work with uni-ball in 2009 in a partnership to help raise awareness about the growing threat of identity theft and provide tips for protecting yourself. Check out uniball-na.com for more information.

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discusses Credit Card Fraud here

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