Monday, June 21, 2010

Social media users found to be blase about any identity theft risks by study

A site called “Net Security” has an interesting column “The truth about social media identity theft”, link here . It refers to a study from the Ponemon Institute.

The survey showed that most users don’t use high privacy settings, and a large number actually publish their home addresses. Generally respondents didn’t feel that identity theft was a big risk from social media use. This may be because social media users are computer fluent and often check their accounts anyway, and because they believe lenders should be able to detect fraud anyway.

It is prudent to publish only a mail box address and mobile (not land) phone. However, very determined criminals still might track down a person by using data mining services that sell reports based on unlisted numbers and the like. But this tendency has not been consistently reported to be a big problem, even though some senior-associated publications (like Erickson), as well as some members of Congress, have expressed concern about it.

It is a bit hard to understand how crimes based on setting up copied identities where the targets don’t even receive bills could work for long, as one would think that address mismatches (detected with software like Group-1 or Pitney Bowes) would enable lenders (and credit reporting companies) to discover fraud more easily (even when DOB’s and SSN’s and names match). Problems may occur when lenders don’t verify transactions with the legitimate customers. Problems may be more common in industries, like hospitals or health care, where business processing is slow, giving crooks more time to get away with schemes.

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