There’s a pervasive myth that having bad credit or even no credit means an identity thief won’t waste his time on you. It’s a common question from victims who reach out to the Identity Theft Resource Center: “I never thought someone would go after my identity with credit like mine. What can they possibly want with it?”
Filing your taxes is probably pretty low on your list of favorite activities, wedged somewhere between dentist appointments and changing a tire on the side of the road. But it’s not really the arduous chore it used to be. New advancements in how we file have made the process a little less painful, but have also left the door wide open for hackers, scammers, and identity thieves.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been warning taxpayers for weeks now about tax refund delays in 2017 and the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) thinks this is good news. Here’s why: As the IRS continues to beef up its resources to tackle identity theft in the tax system and tax refund fraud, it needs the extra time to be sure any fraudulent refunds are not issued in the first place.
Each month, the Identity Theft Resource Center compiles the data from its toll-free call center to get a better sense of what types of identity theft crimes are affecting the public. By categorizing each victim case by the type of identity theft it corresponds to, the ITRC can then help law enforcement agencies and policymakers understand the trends that are actually having an impact.
There isn’t time in the day to list all the ways that the internet has changed our lives for the better, but one very specific group of users finds it invaluable for their work: genealogists. Whether mapping out a family tree as a hobby or handling the work of ancestry professionally, genealogists rely on the readily available search tools and databases of public records to connect the family dots.
A lot of the new technology surrounding financial transactions is aimed at reducing the threat of fraud while improving consumers’ security and convenience. Of course, anything that can make the process more streamlined and more cost-effective for the banks is good, too, considering their operating costs have an impact on their customers. But a new technology that was recently piloted by Chase has already come under attack from identity thieves who’ve successfully stolen customers’ money.
As we round out another year, it’s time to cast the Identity Theft Resource Center’s predictions for 2017. Our expectations for data breaches, hacking, ransomware, and identity theft-related crimes are based on a number of factors, including the tracked data breaches of the past year, news of large-scale hacking, and of course, our work with the victims themselves.