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The Merchant Risk Council talks with the Identity Theft Resource Center in the newest Fraudian Slip podcast about holiday identity theft and what people can do to protect themselves

  • We are days away from what will be one of the most unusual holiday shopping seasons in our lifetimes, coming off of an unusual holiday season.
  • 2020 and 2021 have seen record levels of identity fraud, a lot of it related to shopping online. Most of the fraud and scams is due to cybercriminals using good, old-fashioned scams.
  • The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) sat down with the Merchant Risk Council (MRC) to discuss holiday identity theft, triangulation fraud and steps to protect yourself while shopping during the holiday season.
  • You can learn more about holiday identity theft, retail fraud, what you can do to stay safe and other topics discussed in this podcast by visiting the ITRC’s website www.idtheftcenter.org.
  • If you think you are the victim of an identity crime, you can call the ITRC (888.400.5530) or live-chat on the company website to speak with an expert advisor.

Below is a transcript of our podcast with special guest Julie Fergerson, CEO of the Merchant Risk Council

Welcome to The Fraudian Slip, the Identity Theft Resource Center’s (ITRC) podcast, where we talk about all-things identity compromise, crime and fraud that impact people and businesses. Listen on Apple, Google, Spotify, SoundCloud, Audible, Amazon now.   

We are days away from what will be one of the most unusual holiday shopping seasons in our lifetimes, coming off of an unusual holiday season. Or, if you have headed the warnings from retail experts, you already know we are in the midst of a second holiday season when supply and demand are not in sync. That means more people than ever are turning to online marketplaces to help Santa deliver the goods this year. However, it also means holiday identity theft.

2020 and 2021 have seen record levels of identity fraud, a lot of it related to shopping online. Before you throw your laptop or mobile phone out the window and vow to never shop the internet again, know that very little of that fraud is cybersecurity-related. Most of the fraud and scams are related to cybercriminals using good, old-fashioned scams (and maybe a few bad habits) to trick you into buying something that is too good to be true – because it isn’t.

Joining us to talk about how you can protect yourself and your holiday from holiday identity theft, and the haul from the Grinches that want to steal little Cindy Lou Who’s gifts and roast beast, is Julie Fergerson, the CEO of the Merchant Risk Council (MRC) and the ITRC’s own CEO Eva Velasquez.

We talked with Julie Fergerson about the following:

  • What’s the MRC?
  • Retailers that you do not recognize with deals that sound too good to be true; a quick Google search can show you complaints against a retailer or if they are fake.
  • Triangulation fraud (auction sites).
  • What to do if you don’t recognize a charge on your credit card statement.
  • Alternative payment methods, like buy now and pay later (BNPL) or peer-to-peer (P2P). Payments like those may not have the same consumer protections, which regulators are discussing now.
  • The importance that you trust your instincts to protect yourself from holiday identity theft.

We talked with Eva Velasquez about the following:

You can learn more about the identity scams that involve your identity, privacy or security, or get help if you have been the victim of holiday identity theft by visiting the ITRC’s website www.idtheftcenter.org.

Be sure to join us next week for our Weekly Breach Breakdown podcast. Next month we will look back to see how well we did with our 2021 predictions. We will also look ahead at what to expect in 2022 – on the December episode of The Fraudian Slip.

Frozen Pii talks with the ITRC in the newest Fraudian Slip podcast about credit freezes, one of the most important tools in fighting identity crimes 

  • In 2002 California passed the first state law requiring the three credit bureaus to allow people to freeze their credit so no one else could access it. There used to be fees to freeze and thaw your credit. However, it is now free for everyone.  
  • Despite it being free, more than two-thirds of Americans do not take advantage of one of the most powerful weapons to fight identity crimes. Why? Also, why should you freeze your credit? 
  • The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) sat down with Frozen Pii to discuss new ITRC data on credit freezes, the importance of freezing your credit, how it protects you and why people don’t freeze their credit. 
  • You can learn more about credit freezes and other topics discussed in this podcast, as well as how to protect yourself from identity crimes, by visiting the ITRC’s website www.idtheftcenter.org.  
  • If you think you are the victim of an identity crime, you can call the ITRC (888.400.5530) or live-chat on the company website to speak with an expert advisor. You can freeze your credit by visiting www.frozenpii.org.  

Below is a transcript of our podcast with special guest Tom O’Malley, former federal prosecutor and Founder of Frozen Pii 

Welcome to The Fraudian Slip, the Identity Theft Resource Center’s (ITRC) podcast, where we talk about all-things identity compromise, crime and fraud that impact people and businesses. Listen on Apple, Google, Spotify, SoundCloud, Audible, Amazon or Podsite now.  

Why should you freeze your credit? This month, September, we look at one of the most powerful weapons we have in the fight against identity crimes (one of the most under-utilized tools in our arsenal) and why it’s so important. We are talking about credit freezes.  

In 2002 California passed the first state law requiring the three primary credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – to allow consumers to “freeze” access to their credit reports so no one could open a new account without the person’s knowledge or permission. Eventually, all state’s adopted credit freeze laws.  

In the beginning, there were fees attached to freezing, thawing and re-freezing your credit, which took several days. In fact, 20 percent of Americans spent an estimated $1.4 billion on credit freezes in 2018 before Congress stepped in to require the credit bureaus to make freezing and thawing your credit free of charge.   

Today, what once took days now takes minutes, and no fees are involved. Yet, more than two-thirds of Americans do not take advantage of this tool to keep their credit and identity information safe and secure, according to new ITRC research. Why? Also, why should you freeze your credit? 

Helping us explore the conundrum of credit freezes is the ITRC’s CEO Eva Velasquez and Tom O’Malley, a former federal prosecutor who has taken his experience as a victim of identity theft and turned it into Frozen Pii, a service devoted to making it easy to protect yourself with a credit freeze.  

We talked with Tom O’Malley about the following: 

  • His personal story of identity theft and his idea for Frozen Pii. 
  • How credit freezes protect consumers and why people don’t freeze their credit. 
  • Why should you freeze your credit? 
  • New ITRC data about credit freezes. 
  • The ITRC’s partnership with Frozen Pii, beginning in October. 

We talked with Eva Velasquez about the following: 

  • The history of credit freezes and consumer attitudes. 
  • Why should you freeze your credit? 
  • New ITRC data about credit freezes. 
  • The ITRC’s partnership with Frozen Pii, beginning in October. 

You can learn more about how to protect your personal privacy, as well as get help if you have been the victim of an identity crime by visiting the ITRC’s website www.idtheftcenter.org. While you are there, sign up for our emails that alert you to the latest scams, monthly data breach updates and tips to protect your identity. You can freeze your credit by visiting www.frozenpii.org. Beginning in late October, you will be able to access Frozen Pii directly through the ITRC website.  

Be sure and join us next week for our Weekly Breach Breakdown podcast and next month for another episode of The Fraudian Slip

SentiLink talks with the ITRC in the newest Fraudian Slip podcast about the unprecedented levels of identity fraud as people have applied for government benefits during COVID-19 

  • For the first time since the reports of unemployment identity fraud began to spike in March 2020, the number of cases has steadily declined. So have the number of fraudulent stimulus cases linked to identity fraud. 
  • However, June was the month the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) saw 2021’s unemployment identity fraud numbers surpass all of 2020.  
  • The ITRC sat down with supporter SentiLink, a company that helps businesses reduce identity-related fraud, to discuss COVID-19 fraud, what we learned, emerging threats and much more. Listen to this week’s episode of The Fraudian Slip
  • You can learn more about unemployment identity fraud and other topics discussed in the podcast, and how to protect yourself from identity crimes by visiting the ITRC’s website
  • If you think you are the victim of an identity crime or your identity has been compromised, you can call us, chat live online, send an email or leave a voicemail for an expert advisor to get advice on how to respond. Just visit www.idtheftcenter.org to get started.   

Welcome to The Fraudian Slip, the Identity Theft Resource Center’s (ITRC) podcast, where we talk about all-things identity compromise, crime and fraud that impact people and businesses. Listen on Apple, Google, Spotify, SoundCloud, or Podsite now.

This month, July, we will look deeper into an issue that has dominated news headlines – unemployment identity fraud – and frustrated hundreds of thousands of identity crime victims. We are talking about the unprecedented levels of identity fraud that we have seen during the pandemic as people applied for various government benefits – ranging from unemployment benefits to small business loans.  

Let’s start with some good news. For the first time since reports of unemployment identity fraud emerged in early 2020, the number of fraud cases began a steady decline in May. The number of fraudulent stimulus cases linked to identity fraud and small business administration loans also drops a little each month. Ironically, June was the month when the number of unemployment identity fraud cases reported to the ITRC in 2021 surpassed all of 2020. 

The ITRC has talked a lot on earlier episodes of this podcast about how the unemployment identity fraud occurred and the impact on people denied benefits as a result. However, we have not focused much on what we have learned about what happened after the money was stolen. Where did it go? What other actions can we take now to prevent more fraud in the future based on what we have learned? 

Helping us explore the murky world of identity fraud is Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the ITRC, and Naftali Harris, Co-Founder and CEO of SentiLink, a company that helps businesses reduce identity-related fraud.   

We talked with Naftali Harris about the following: 

  • What SentiLink does. 
  • What happened to the money lost, and what we have learned from the pandemic fraud. 
  • Friction in transactions – positive and negative.  
  • Any potential emerging threats. 

We talked with Eva Velasquez about the following: 

  • The impacts of identity fraud and the denial of benefits. 
  • Friction in transactions – positive and negative. 
  • What consumers can do to prevent/mitigate identity fraud now. 

You can learn more about unemployment identity fraud as well as get help if you have been the victim of an identity crime by visiting the ITRC’s website at www.idtheftcenter.org. While you are there, sign up for our emails that alert you to the latest scamsmonthly data breach updatesand tips to protect your identity.  

Be sure and join us next week for our Weekly Breach Breakdown podcast and next month for another episode of The Fraudian Slip.  

ITRC thanks SentiLink for supporting our podcast.