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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  1. 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.

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