Identity Theft – More Than Just a Security Threat

By | May 17, 2005

Phishing and identity theft attacks continue to increase dramatically, according to an independent survey of consumers, conducted by First Data Crop. The survey found that almost seven percent have been victimized by identity theft and 45 percent have received a phishing contact.

Phishing attacks are a growing form of attempted identity theft in which consumers are contacted usually contacted via fraud e-mails that try to lure them into providing information about them. Phishing attacks usually “query” victims for personal information such as Social Security Number and financial information – bank accounts, credit cards etc.

The survey conducted in late 2004 has revealed the following results: 50 percent of consumers extremely concerned about identity theft, over 30 percent reported that they have received a phishing e-mail, 19 percent reported on phishing phone calls, 5 percent revealed personal information to phishers.

In addition, the survey revealed that 54 million Americans have been the victims of ID-related fraud, including phishing attacks and other forms of identity theft.

“This new survey confirms that identity theft and phishing are national threats, and that consumers need help to fight back,” said Debra Janssen, president, First Data Debit Services. “Close to 5 percent of phishing attempts are successful, despite significant efforts by the financial community to raise awareness and educate consumers about phishing.”

“In our survey, we found that 60 percent of consumers reported having seen or heard public service announcements or educational materials about phishing,” Janssen said.

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