As businesses increasingly depend on electronic data and computer networks to conduct their daily operations, growing pools of personal and financial information are being transferred and stored online. This can leave individuals exposed to privacy violations and financial institutions and other businesses exposed to potentially enormous liability, if and when a breach in data security occurs.
The Consumer Sentinel database, maintained by the Federal Trade Commission, contains over 9 million consumer fraud and identity theft complaints that have been filed with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and private organizations over the five years 2009 to 2013. In 2013 alone, over 2 million complaints were filed.
The increase in online shopping in recent years has created new avenues for identity thieves. However, a 2013 study by Travelers Insurance of its 2011 identity fraud claims found that burglary and theft of physical objects led to the majority of identity fraud claims. The study identified the following four top causes of identity fraud:
- Stolen wallet or purse (44%)
- Auto burglary (16%)
- Online (15%)
- Home Burglary (12%)
IDENTITY THEFT AND FRAUD COMPLAINTS, 2011-2013 (1)
HOW VICTIMS’ INFORMATION IS MISUSED, 2013 (1)
IDENTITY THEFT BY STATE, 2013
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In 2000 the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance joined together to create the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) to monitor Internet-related criminal complaints. In 2013 the IC3 received and processed 262,813 complaints, averaging about 22,000 complaints per month. The IC3 reports that 119,457 of these complaints involved a dollar loss, and puts total dollar losses at $782 million. The most common complaints received in 2013 included auto auction fraud involving the sale of automobiles, real estate scams and FBI impersonation email scams.
TOP TEN STATES FOR CYBER CRIME, 2013 (1)
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