Every new credit/debit card issued has an identity chip in the back. We are told that this would speed up the check out process and make for more secure transactions. However, recent research by Javelin Strategy and Research actually shows identity fraud is up.
2016 will be remembered as a banner year for fraudsters as numerous measures of identity fraud reached new heights. The overall fraud incidence rose 16% to affect 6.15% of U.S. consumers, from 5.30% in 2015 — the highest on record. And while losses increased by a relatively modest $700 million, the growing prevalence of fraud types that challenge an FI or issuer’s ability to sustain a relationship with a customer dealt additional damage to profitability. Even high points must be tempered for while average consumer costs were down, they were down only because more consumers experienced fraud on existing-card accounts. Fortunately, lessons from 2016 for better managing fraud abound. Unfortunately, risks inherent to growing connectivity combined with weak identity verification, the rise of EMV, and the circumvention of antiquated controls created an environment where fraud thrived and everyone paid the price.
So what’s the moral of this story? What can you do to protect yourself?
Hackers Thieves and Social Scum
The world is full of dishonest people. People who think that they have a right to your stuff just because they may have figured out a way to exploit your situation.
- Situational Awareness: It’s easy to be in a rush and lose sight of your situation and surroundings, but consider this. The people who think they have a right to your stuff make a living out of being a thief. They aspire to be professionals. Just like you may be a professional at what you do, so are they. I was once told a tale by a friend about someone having their credit card hacked while she was pumping gas. It turns out the hacker was innocently sitting on the ground at the convenience store. As soon as she was done pumping her gas her phone was flooded with email messages confirming her purchasing goods she didn’t purchase.
- E-Commerce SSL: Online fraud also offers an opportunity for thieves to grab your identity. Never, ever buy anything from a website that is not secured. Just look in the browser address bar and it will either say, secure, or not secure.
- Carry Some Cash: Personally I try to minimize my use of my credit/debit card by always carrying a certain amount of cash. I know it sounds simple and easy and it is. It is also very effective. This way when I have to make a spontaneous purchase or a run to the store during the week to get coffee, or a snack, I just use cash. So carry some cash and minimize the use of your credit card.
- False Sense of Security: Many have a tendency to think that technology will secure and protect them, but my personal opinion a false sense of security is the biggest threat. Your comfort and complacency could be your biggest risk and we really don’t have to look any further than the Federal government to be reminded of this and if you take the time to do a Google search you’ll be appalled at how frequently the federal government has been hacked. One might reasonably conclude that with the resources at their disposal that our federal government would be the most secure repository of data.
The bottom line is analogous to what Ian Malcolm, played by Jeff Goldblum said in the movie Jurassic Park when he chastised Hammond about his arrogance Hammond attempted to assure Malcolm that they had guarded against the dinosaurs being able to reproduce. Malcolm said; “Life will find a way”. In that same vein, hackers, thieves and social scum will find a way. For every technology that gets invented to secure our data, the hackers, thieves and social scum, being the professionals that they are will also find a way. It’s the proverbial cat and mouse game that will never end.
So be aware of your surroundings, use common sense, minimize your use of your card by making it a habit to carry some cash for spontaneous purchases.
For further research
Right not for a limited time you can save 15% on the No Snooping Allowed RFID Blocking Credit card wallet when you order two or more. Enter coupon code ‘honest’.