Identity theft has become a frightening epidemic in recent years. According to a study by Javelin Strategy & Research, over 13 million US customers had their identity stolen in 2015. The average identity theft victim had $1200 stolen from them.
Those figures have risen significantly over the years. The growing threat of identity theft is largely attributed to changes in technology. Consumers need to understand the risks and take necessary precautions.
Here are some risks to be aware of.
Wearable TechnologyWearable technology is becoming more popular as people want to better manage their health. However, it also exposes people to identity theft risks, because the companies using them collect many personal details on their customers.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer said this is becoming a serious concern.
"Personal fitness bracelets and the data they collect on your health, sleep, and location, should be just that – personal," he stated. "The fact that private health data — rich enough to identify the user's gait — is being gathered by applications like FitBit and can then be sold to third-parties without the user's consent is a true privacy nightmare."
This doesn't mean you should never use wearable technology. However, you need to read the user agreement and know how we are data is stored.
Outdated Cybersecurity TechnologyTarget was hacked a couple of years ago, which created widespread panic. Consumers across the country wondered what precautions cybersecurity companies were taking to safeguard their financial data and how effective they were.
Unfortunately, this technology is often very outdated. Credit cards still use magnetic strips, which makes it very easy to clone them. Criminals are becoming more sophisticated, so security won't improve until more cyber security companies follow suit and improve their infrastructure.
Increased Use of Mobile DevicesPeople bring their smart phones and tablets with them almost everywhere they go. Unfortunately, our dependence on mobile technology has created some security risks.
Many people don't realize how much personal information they have on their phone. They're automatically logged into Facebook, their email and many other accounts. If someone was able to access their phone, they would have almost all their information at their fingertips.
If you have a mobile device, it's imperative that you keep thieves from being able to access it. It should be password or fingerprint protected. There are also apps that allow you to remotely wipe your hard drive if the device is ever stolen. While this is an extreme measure, it's definitely preferable to having your identity stolen.
EcommerceEcommerce is a booming business these days. It also creates new cybersecurity risks that can lead to identity theft.
Online businesses must find new ways to protect their customers' information to retain their trust. They have begun employing 26 bit encryption and other technology to keep sensitive information safe.
The need for advanced cybersecurity will continue to grow as more people use the Internet for their purchases. This is creating a also greater need for professionals with cybersecurity training.