Prevent Identity Theft in the Face of Growing Data Breach Incidents

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Data breach incidents result in increased cases of identity theft. Identity Management Institute recommends 5 areas of business focus for identity theft prevention and Red Flags Rule compliance.

Identity Management Institute

Identity Management Institute

Businesses must counter the personal data breach threat with an effective identity theft prevention program.

Personal data breach incidents are occurring at an alarming rate and resulting in higher volume of data losses and increased identity theft cases. There are hundreds of reported data breach incidents each year, and, some incidents may even escape detection or reporting. "The reason for larger and frequent personal data breaches can be attributed to larger databases, targeted attacks, technical advancement and capabilities, ease of attack from any location, and fraud incentives," according to Henry Bagdasarian, founder of Identity Management Institute.

These data breach incidents lead to higher risk of identity theft considering that a high percentage of stolen personal data lead to identity fraud cases. As personal data breach incidents continue to occur, the risk of identity theft also rises with each additional incident.

According to Mr. Bagdasarian, "although information security professionals are doing everything in their power to protect customer and employee information, data breach incidents are inevitable and will continue to result in higher volumes of personal data losses and identity theft."

Regardless of where or how consumer information is obtained, we have to think about a second layer of controls around the following 5 identity theft prevention focus areas:

1. Identification documents - identification documents presented by new and existing customers might provide clues indicating signs of identity theft such as:

a. they appear to be forged or altered,
b. the photograph doesn't match the customer,
c. customer cannot readily substantiate the ID information, and
d. ID information is associated with fraudulent applications on file.

2. Personal information - personal information presented by customers may be:

a. inconsistent,
b. invalid,
c. associated with fraud related information,
d. duplicate, or
e. incomplete

3. Account activities – monitoring account activities is one of the major identity theft prevention focus areas to detect fraud for existing accounts. Some account activities which may point to identity theft include:

a. known patterns of fraud,
b. major transaction soon after a change of address,
c. inconsistent use of the account,
d. use of inactive accounts, and
e. undeliverable mail.

4. Consumer reports - consumer reports such as credit reports often include alerts and information which might indicate potential signs of identity theft. Such information might include:

a. excessive consumer report inquiries by other businesses,
b. excessive number of new accounts,
c. fraud alerts and freezes,
d. address discrepancy,
e. unusual activities, and
f. accounts closed due to fraud.

5. Alerts or notices - information received from customers, law enforcement, and other persons or sources can point to identity theft which may include:

a. customer notification about unknown transactions,
b. major alerts from government agencies regarding national trends, and
c. news articles about recent identity theft events.

In conclusion, personal data breach incidents and identity theft are at an all time high and according to Mr. Bagdasarian, "businesses must counter the personal data breach threat with an effective identity theft prevention program which incorporates risk assessments, policies and procedures, and training in order to identify and detect identity theft red flags and prevent fraud." Financial institutions and creditors must also comply with the Red Flags Rule which requires the implementation of an identity theft prevention program.

About Identity Management Institute
Identity Management Institute® (IMI) is an independent organization with global members dedicated to identity risk management training and professional certification with a focus on identity theft and compliance. IMI manages the largest identity theft discussion group in the world and a leading identity theft blog. For more information, please visit the IMI website.

About CRFS®
The Certified Red Flag Specialist® designation is the only registered workplace identity theft prevention and compliance training program developed based on government approved techniques outlined in the Red Flags Rule and rigorous examination by Identity Management Institute. Please visit the CRFS page.

About CIPA®
The Certified Identity Protection Advisor® designation is the leading registered identity theft management certification which is designed to train and certify identity theft protection professionals who educate, guide, and support consumers with their identity theft prevention, detection, investigation and resolution solutions. Please visit the CIPA page.

Eileen Nazarians
+1 (800) 393-4210


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Eileen Nazarians
since: 02/2009
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