The overall news is not good for those hit by a data breach. Javelin Advisory Services recently reported a serious uptick in data breach victims also becoming victims of fraud. In a report conducted over a six-year period, Javelin investigated the after-life of breached data and its consequences. The study revealed that in 2016, more than half of the $18 billion loss due to fraud is collateral damage from prior data breaches. The breach-to-fraud numbers are now at 31.7%, the highest rate ever recorded. The good news is that online consumers are becoming more adept at detecting and acting quickly on fraud attempts. This awareness minimizes the after-life of boosted data with each attack.
It’s important to distinguish between a data breach and its fraudulent counterpart. Data breaches happen when a company or individual has their secure data accessed by a cyber intruder. It doesn’t have to mean the information is then used for fraudulent purposes. Fraud occurs when the pilfered data is then used for financial theft. Victims of a data breach may not see immediate damage, but over six years, 75% eventually do (to the tune of $12 billion).
Javelin provides the longest running study of cyber fraud in US history, finding that in the past 12 months, debit (26%) and credit cards (44%) are the most frequent type of data breaches, with Social Security numbers coming in at 13%. The study finds that data breach and fraud methods trend, based on the latest anti-theft technology available. Regardless of theft trends, there are basic security tactics individuals can do to minimize data breaches and fraud damage. It’s all about early notification and quick action by the individual.
– Have a data breach plan ready. Immediately freezing credit reports, bank, and other financial accounts greatly diminishes the damage. Have phone numbers, website addresses, and other information for the credit bureaus, your financial institutions, and others handy for quick action.
– Get alerts for suspicious account activity and online transactions. Most finance and online merchants allow you to sign up for instant alerts. The faster you know about questionable actions, the faster your data breach plan can be implemented. Some alerts can be customized to your shopping and other preferences can reduce unnecessary alerts.
– Beware of your social media presence. Don’t provide any personal information that can be used to crack your passwords and other data. Have your profile security preferences limit exposure to only friends and connections. Never accept friend requests from those you have not vetted to insure they are legitimately who they claim they are.
– Two-step or multi-step verification for online accounts adds an extra layer of protection. If a thief gains access to your password, another authorization step is required from the account owner. However, strong passwords are always the first defense to greater safety.
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