Cyber Criminals Are Getting Craftier

Dependent as we are on our computer, itís no surprise that more fraudsters are out there developing newer scams, aimed at getting more people to give them more of their money.† Even if you have not been touched by identity theft, chances are you will one day.† Here are some of the most important trends you should be aware of to keep fraudsters from separating you from your money.

Consumers, like you, lost nearly $500 million last year via electronic fraud.

With total consumer losses approaching a half billion dollars, individual consumers like you are losing an average of $4,187 per fraud, much of which is gone forever.

Safety Tip: Most people believe it will never happen to me.† These same people are paying the price now.† Donít be one of them.

ID theft has DOUBLED in the past year for children.

Children are being targeted as much as 35 times more frequently than adults, and the younger the child the more vulnerable.† Thatís because this gives the fraudsters more time to go undetected while they use the childís identity.† Fraudsters are often someone close to the family.† Other times, they are able to access social security numbers through schools, doctorsí offices and hospitals.† In one instance, fraudsters have been using a teenagerís identity for a decade, a fraud estimated at $750,000.† Starting life with bad credit can hurt a childís ability to get credit, gain admission to college or get a job.

Safety Tip: Treat your childís personal information as carefully as your own-and educate them early to do likewise.† Order a free credit report once per year.

A weak PIN increases your risk of ID theft.

Debit card fraud, where Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) are often required, accounts for 35% of payment card fraud, costing consumers an average of $2,529.† A surprising number of these PINís are easily discovered, such as in wallets.† Easily guessed PINís are also prime targets.† The biggest offenders are birthdays and repeating or sequential numbers.

Safety Tip: Difficult PINís are harder to guess, making your identity that much safer; use a combination of letters and numbers.

Mobile phones and social media are the new identity theft frontiers.

Fraudsters are expected to introduce as many as 1,000 different phone/ social media scams this year.† In fact, your social media identity may be more valuable to cyber criminals than your credit cards, because it offers them the opportunity to manipulate your friends.

Safety Tip: Keep smart phone operating systems up-to-date; use passwords to access your phone: install apps that will enable remote deletion of phone data if it is lost or stolen.

Where You Can Go For Help And Information

Internet Crime Complaint Center: click here

Consumer Fraud: click here

Federal Trade Commission Consumer Response Center: click here

Consumer Guides And Protection: click here

Financial Fraud Enhancement Task Force: click here

On Guard Online:†click here†††