Bank, Credit Card Company Say Not To Worry About Identity Theft

from the questionable-motives dept

Identity theft continues to be a problem for American consumers, with the recent news that the Massachusetts attorney general had fallen victim to it highlighting the general inability of government or industry to tackle the issue. Despite repeated leaks of credit-card and other personal information, and the scale of those leaks reaching new heights, a new study says that identity theft is actually becoming less prevalent. It says the number of people affected by identity theft or fraud decreased last year, as did total losses and the size of the average loss. It's probably worth noting that the study was paid for by Visa, Wells Fargo bank, and a check-processing company. Visa and Wells Fargo are no strangers to data leaks and identity theft, so you'd be forgiven for thinking they have just the slightest vested interest in downplaying the threat. To be fair, the company that did the survey isn't saying that identity theft is no longer a problem, but it's hard to see this as much more than an effort by the companies that paid for it to try and say the problem's not so bad. Perhaps the public has grown paranoid, but they should try telling that to victims, particularly those who spend lots of time dealing with identity theft's lingering effects.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2007 @ 5:20am

    More bullshit giving consumers a false sense of security

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    thinlizzy151, 2 Feb 2007 @ 5:21am

    Perhaps the public has grown paranoid

    As the saying goes, "just because you are paranoid, that does not mean that you do not have enemies". The only people saying so far that ID theft has gone down at all have a very vested interest in saying so. Instead of spending $ on dubious studies, why don't they invest it in better ways of securing their data. It seems that almost every day you read of another data leak. I'm careful, but that does not protect me from all the variegated sources of personal data screwing up and somehow allowing people's data get into malicious hands. The banks, etc. are making plenty of $ from us, the least they can do is protect their customers better. But they won't -- unless they get legally forced to.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Phlatus the Elder, 2 Feb 2007 @ 7:04am

      Re: Perhaps the public has grown paranoid

      You got it right in the subject line, Lizzy. ID theft has gone down because people have (ever so slightly) wised up. No thanks to the banks and credit card companies, though. The press, for once, has done a fair job of getting the word out - mostly because it was sensational - and nearly everyone knows an identity theft victim. E-mail phishing is quickly becoming passe. While man-in-the-middle scams are coming into use, they take more technical savy so there are fewer players.

      If you vote against your credit card issuer with your feet and cancel the card, your credit rating takes a hit. Thus, we're "encouraged" (that is, coerced) into staying with companies that unilaterally change payment due dates then charge us $40 late fees.

      It's a pretty neat system they have, but all it'll take is a legislature with some guts to reign in the credit reporting system to make it fall apart.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      dataGuy, 2 Feb 2007 @ 7:31am

      Re: Perhaps the public has grown paranoid

      I always understood the saying to be: "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you". Saying it that way, sounds so much more paranoid ;-)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Beck, 2 Feb 2007 @ 7:01am

    Cloned Credit Cards in Cleveland

    A "high-tech credit card fraud ring" is creating their own credit cards using good credit card numbers, then using the cloned cards to take cash advances from banks.

    http://www.newsnet5.com/news/10903966/detail.html

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    nobody, 2 Feb 2007 @ 7:52am

    There are always loopholes in the system, especially electronic commerce. One day, there will be a consumer who realises that these banking systems set up and established the 'processing' of data and information. People set these systems in place, programmers make mistakes. The true hacker can break any system. One day the consumer will know this and blame the credit card companies for ID theft, and the monetary loss and time associated with recovery. One day that consumer will sue the credit card company for negligence in programming, and failing to secure their information. It's a huge problem thats played down by those that provide the services.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Okey Dokey, 2 Feb 2007 @ 8:11am

    Credit is becoming a scam

    What makes me mad about the whole identity theft thing is that even if you do every thing you can to protect your identity, you can still be a victim due not to your own fault but some stupid retailer who keeps credit card numbers when they should't and shoddy security and training. I hope more senators get theri IDs stolen and have to go throught the thousands of dollars it takes to repair their lives and maybe something will finally get done about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2007 @ 8:52am

    Banks have an interest in telling consumers that fraud is declining so that they can cause consumer confidence in online banking to go up. This will help them slowly remove all the real estate they are paying money for (having large banks on every street corner is not cheap).

    If Visa were to see less fraud, it would not necessarily mean that there is less fraud, but simply that it is being reported less often by merchants for whatever reason. Often times merchants don't want to report too much fraud because they can receive penalties from visa, so instead they will give the money back to the consumer and not alert visa.

    but, then again ... maybe there is less fraud :) My guess though would be that fraudsters are simply becoming harder to detect. For example, if a fraudster were to gain access to a bunch of accounts, in the past they might have tried to dump all of those accounts for the cash, and that would be reported. Instead they might now simply charge or transfer 10 dollars a month from each account, which would lower the chances of the account owner ever noticing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rob Rubin, 2 Feb 2007 @ 9:37am

    On the otherhand, overstating demand isn't good ei

    I recently read an article claiming that 45% of consumers would be willing to switch to a bank that provides identity theft protection. The study was commissioned by an identity theft protection software vendor (Unisys) and was in my analysis, flawed research that overstates demand.

    I think consumer awareness is the biggest reason identity theft declined. For example, I had to give my Dad my credit card number recently and he asked that I not email him the number because he knows email isn't secure. You don't know my Dad, but that's amazing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brad Eleven, 2 Feb 2007 @ 9:55am

    It's called "responsibility." Look into it.

    Now that the chickens are coming home to roost by the millions, the same companies who have asserted their right to collect (and often sell) private information are trying to avoid the obvious responsibility implied by storing the sensitive information: SAFEGUARDING IT.

    Clearly, their databases of private information represent revenue, even if they don't sell the information. They want it both ways, i.e., they want to keep the information, but they don't want to pay what it costs to secure the information.

    The pendulum has begun to swing away from their salad days, and they seem to have started down the MPAA/RIAA road. They can probably delay the hammerfall, but it's coming. The piper will be paid, else he will lead the rats back into the city.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jenn, 2 Feb 2007 @ 11:48am

    Plus Wells is the back end for paypal, another service with a vested interest in playing down all from of online fraud.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael Long, 2 Feb 2007 @ 7:03pm

    Another Catch-22

    Seems like another Catch-22 to me. Without sourcing a study there's no way to determine what bias it may have. On the other hand, once you know who conducted it everyone on the other side automatically dismisses it as a "paid" study.

    Perhaps we should read the study and examine the methodology before automatically assuming it's fraudulant... and saying as much.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    sam, 29 Aug 2007 @ 2:04pm

    this is my credit card number TRY it!! 15556788854000005444223344



    swear it works i will kill u if u steal it!!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Credit Cards, 10 Jul 2008 @ 8:33pm

    Credit Cards Australia

    Instead of spending $ on dubious studies, why don't they invest it in better ways of securing their data.The piper will be paid, else he will lead the rats back into the city.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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