Syracuse, NY (PRWEB) August 11, 2007
Michael Durnack, identity theft expert and President and CEO of Identity Defense (http://www.identitydefense.com), says recent study of IRS employees shows consumers' susceptibility to social engineering.
Last week, The Department of the Treasury released the results of their review to evaluate the vulnerability of IRS employees to 'social engineering' attempts that could be used by potential identity thieves to access the IRS's computer system. The result of this study showed 60% of IRS employees did not comply with computer security practices put into place to protect their passwords. Computer hackers could use this information to access the IRS computer system and the personal information of millions of American taxpayers.
Social engineering, also known as pretexting, is the act of creating and using an invented scenario (the pretext) to persuade a target to release information or perform an action and is usually done over the telephone. The fraud doesn't start or end there. The thief has usually done extensive background research on the victim. This research is then used to lure the information from a bank, lender, or the IRS in the above example. When doors are opened for these identity thieves, the crime against unassuming consumers is inevitable.
In the case of the IRS employee review, consumers are lucky because this was only a test done by the Department of Treasury. Michael Durnack, identity theft expert and President and CEO of Identity Defense said, "If this was an actual crime committed by a computer hacker using pretexting, the personal information of American taxpayers could be exposed. The crime of identity theft is a growing problem and it's just getting worse."
Durnack goes on to say, "Pretexting is just another example of the complex means identity theives are now using to acquire personal information. Consumers now, more than ever, need to educate themselves as to their risk of identity theft."
This important first step in the fight against identity theft is something that Durnack and his company, Identity Defense, developed to help consumers educate themselves about identity theft and what they can do to protect their personal information (http://www.identitydefense.com). Identity Defense has created a proprietary ID risk assessment that categorizes the threat level of an individual's risk to identity theft. When the assigned ID risk level has been determined, personalized recommendations for modifying habits and behaviors to reduce risk are offered with Identity Defense's Customized Personal Report (CPR). The process is simple and gives the consumer control of his personal information.
Durnack states, "This is comparable to fire prevention versus firefighting."
IdentityDefense.com is a consultancy committed to helping individuals defend their identity from theft and fraud. An innovative and proprietary set of tools have been developed to help quantify vulnerability and create personalized recommendations for modifying habits and behaviors to reduce risk with Identity Defense's Customized Personal Report (CPR). These tools are provided to individuals online at http://www.IdentityDefense.com and also offered directly to financial institutions, credit unions, and financial planners to offer their customers tangible Identity Defense solutions.