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The Notable Decline of Identity Fraud

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the call-me-shirley dept.

Crime 130

Orome1 writes "In 2010 the number of identity fraud victims decreased by 28 percent to 8.1 million adults in the United States, three million fewer victims than the prior year. Total annual fraud decreased from $56 billion to $37 billion, the smallest amount in the eight years of the study. While overall fraud declined, consumer out-of-pocket costs rose significantly, mainly due to the types of fraud that were successfully perpetrated and an increase in "friendly fraud." The number of identity fraud incidents decreased by 28 percent over the past year, which brought them down to levels not seen since 2007. The mean fraud amount per victim declined from $4,991 in 2009 to $4,607."

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130 comments

Unemployment & Economy (2, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138090)

Thieves have a good chance of stealing the identity of someone that is probably worse off than them.

Re:Unemployment & Economy (1)

Nick Fel (1320709) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138210)

Shouldn't really matter - even if they are worse of then you, you still get something for nothing.

Re:Unemployment & Economy (2)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138278)

you still get something for nothing

Not true.

Whatever they get costs them time, effort, and risk. If the reward isn't large enough, it's not worth it.

Re:Unemployment & Economy (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139034)

Do you think criminals operate like actuaries, and produce a risk/benefit analysis for each job they do?

Almost all criminals do less well financially than if they'd simply got a normal job and stuck with it, even ignoring the fact that they are bound to spend quite a lot of time in prison.
As a rule, they take the easy option regardless of consequences.

Re:Unemployment & Economy (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139108)

I think they do (at least informally) estimate the risks and benefits of each job that they do, I also think that one of the keys is that they are really bad at it.

Re:Unemployment & Economy (2)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139164)

Do you think criminals operate like actuaries, and produce a risk/benefit analysis for each job they do?

Indvidually, no. As a group? Kind-of. In the sense that the occasional ID thieve looks at his take on a theft and decides 'meh, not worth trying again'.

Easier to go steal the copper out of forclosed homes.

Re:Unemployment & Economy (3, Insightful)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139184)

As a rule, they take the easy option regardless of consequences.

Precisely why making crime more difficult is often a pretty good deterrent.

Re:Unemployment & Economy (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138398)

From the article, the opposite is true:

Fraud inversely mirrors retail sales - The Javelin study found an interesting correlation between retail sales and fraud incidence, with the amount of fraud almost perfectly inversely mirroring retail sales over the past seven years. When retail sales have increased, fraud has decreased, which points to economic hardships as an overall contributor to fraudsters committing identity crimes.

Re:Unemployment & Economy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35139304)

I can imagine the RIAA using this...

Spend all your money with the RIAA and identity fraud is reduced
or just using the correlation to link downloaders with identity theft.

Re:Unemployment & Economy (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35140942)

Crime is caused by poverty? Whoda thunk it?

Re:Unemployment & Banking (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139336)

I think it has more to do with the banking downturn. Banks are into risk avoiding mode, and won't give loans/mortguages to just anybody. It's clearly not due to better enforcement of laws, we're still wasting most of our policing on the war on drugs.

Not worth it (1)

Byzantine (85549) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138108)

With the mean amount per victim so (relatively) low, I guess it's just not worth it for the criminals doing it on an individual basis. All the rational criminals must be moving to more lucrative sources of ill-gotten gains.

Re:Not worth it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35138142)

All the rational criminals must be moving to more lucrative sources of ill-gotten gains.

Congress? We did have mid-term elections a few months ago in 2010 - when this crime dropped. Coincidence? I don't think so!

Re:Not worth it (1)

Cornelius the Great (555189) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138216)

Now be serious... there's only 535 seats in Congress. That's hardly enough to put a dent in other criminal enterprises.

Re:Not worth it (1)

vbraga (228124) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138314)

But enough to put a dent on legal enterprises :)

Re:Not worth it (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138348)

All the rational criminals must be moving to more lucrative sources of ill-gotten gains.

Congress? We did have mid-term elections a few months ago in 2010 - when this crime dropped. Coincidence? I don't think so!

Entering politics certainly is a more lucrative sources of ill-gotten gains, and attracts many criminals.

Re:Not worth it (1)

click2005 (921437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139328)

Power attracts the corruptible.

Re:Not worth it (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138152)

All the rational criminals must be moving to more lucrative sources of ill-gotten gains.

Like finance.

Re:Not worth it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35138262)

Ah, but the cost of entry is even lower. You set up a phishing site, and send spam messages to (for instance), 100,000 email addresses. Since you're not really interested in long term (or high throughput), you can probably get it working for only a couple hundred dollars. If 10 people give you their information (0.1% of the people you contacted), and you only steal $4,000 from each of them, you end up making a reasonable annual wage in a weekend (illegal means you probably aren't going to pay taxes on the money).

I have no idea how accurate these numbers are, but the scenario I described only accounted for 0.00000125 of the total identity fraud cases in the US last year. Not every criminal can be Bernie Madoff

Re:Not worth it (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138752)

I think your numbers are probabally reasonable for a phishing scam, but the parent's comment was highly targeted attacks on individuals. This seems less likely unless they know they stand to gain at least 10x the average. Random only goes so far.

I'm just optimistic that there is a hair of consumer insight into what is going on, and they are being ever so slightly more careful. I can dream.

Hrm (3, Insightful)

techsoldaten (309296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138178)

Coincidentally, I don't get offers of free credit in the mail from EVERY bank in the United States anymore either. Wonder if that could have anything to do with it.

Re:Hrm (3, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138518)

Coincidentally, I don't get offers of free credit in the mail from EVERY bank in the United States anymore either. Wonder if that could have anything to do with it.

Check your credit report... did you know you now own three trucks in .MX and a condo in Vegas? Seriously one of the best indications of theft is an unanticipated change in your junkmail.

Re:Hrm (1)

techsoldaten (309296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138770)

I lived in Las Vegas for years, you better be lying.

Actually, I could tell you some interesting stories about identity fraud in Vegas. Had a roommate who had her mail stolen and someone ran up a lot of charges on cards she never registered for.

The neighbor down the street had someone take out a loan from a bank on his house without his knowledge. There were some pros running around back when I was there.

Re:Hrm (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139274)

Had a roommate who had her mail stolen and someone ran up a lot of charges on cards she never registered for.

The neighbor down the street had someone take out a loan from a bank on his house without his knowledge.

Ah, its like that everywhere in the country not just Vegas.

The roommate thing is slightly easier to detect, I used to get exactly two junkmails per week, every week, for many years, from Crapital One, they must have spent hundreds of dollars over the years on postage trying to make me a customer. So if I would only get one ad from Crapital One, I'd get nervous. The neighbor thing is way tougher because I got about one refinance offer per day, but from a different bank each day... how anyone ever know if one went missing?

Re:Hrm (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139576)

OT: What's really fun is taking all the extra fluff Crapital One sends you (fake credit card, terms of service, etc... that does not have your name/address of course) and stuffing it in the bulk prepaid envelop they include and send it back to them. The more you stuff in there the more it costs them in postage to have it sent back.

Any junk mail I get that includes a prepaid reply envelop gets this treatment. Just my way of saying thank you for wasting my time...

Re:Hrm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35140162)

I throw mine into the shredder without opening it. Far less of my time was wasted.

Re:Hrm (1)

Enigma23 (460910) | more than 3 years ago | (#35140628)

OT: What's really fun is taking all the extra fluff Crapital One sends you (fake credit card, terms of service, etc... that does not have your name/address of course) and stuffing it in the bulk prepaid envelop they include and send it back to them. The more you stuff in there the more it costs them in postage to have it sent back.

Any junk mail I get that includes a prepaid reply envelop gets this treatment. Just my way of saying thank you for wasting my time...

What's really, REALLY fun is attaching the prepaid reply label to a concrete breeze block, or a tub of rotting jellied eels, or a Wolverine... ;)

Re:Hrm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35139630)

I used to get exactly two junkmails per week, every week, for many years, from Crapital One, they must have spent hundreds of dollars over the years on postage trying to make me a customer.

I think I can beat that. They regularly loaned me in the neighbourhood of $2-2.5k at no interest (I paid it back the following month) back when I could make >3% interest just holding onto the cash in a savings account.

How the hell ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35138184)

Identity fraud is nearly non-existent here in France. All credit cards have pin numbers and taking credits requires the use of state-manufactured ID. IDs are very hard to fake and use of fake ID is harshly punished (relatively to other property crime that is, our judiciary system is globally lenient). Paper checks are discouraged and ID is mandatory for using them anyway.

Just make banks liable for losses and they will make sure it doesn't happen very very fast.

Re:How the hell ? (1)

Byzantine (85549) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138272)

I don't know how it stands legally in the US, but lots of places I've seen have signs saying it's company policy to ask for ID when you make a credit card purchase. I've been asked to show my ID once, ever, for a credit card purchase (oddly, at a place I frequent regularly, and the cashier more than likely knew me by sight). It's just too much of a hassle to check it for every customer that comes through, I suppose.

I do get asked for ID when I buy things with checks—although the only time I write checks is out of my health savings account [irs.gov] for prescription drugs, so there may be something else going on there.

Re:How the hell ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35138430)

We do the same, and we also avoid signing on the back of a credit card (our id has a copy of the signature and a picture). Also, a bank transfer within the the same bank is competed in a couple of minutes, and within 2 different banks it takes at most 24 hr, so people tend to use on-line transfers (that are free) instead of credit cards when buying on-line.

Re:How the hell ? (2)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138922)

Here in the Netherlands people use Ideal [ideal.nl] If you want to use that to steal from me you have two options
  1. 1. Hack the bank. You'd probably steal from someone with money instead of from me.
  2. 2. Steal my PIN card (Just the data on the chips isn't even enough, you also need the 4 digit card number. The magnetic strip is useless for this) and I would notice that and block the card.

On a sidenote: Damn, still no numbers in an ol.

Re:How the hell ? (2)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138476)

Just make banks liable for losses and they will make sure it doesn't happen very very fast.

This.

Re:How the hell ? (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138584)

Banks are liable for losses on credit card purchases. If you see unauthorized charges on your bill, you can refuse to pay it (granted, I think you have to notify them in a somewhat timely manner, and other reasonable restrictions probably apply).

Debit card purchases, not so much. If they had your PIN, you're screwed. If they used it without a PIN, it was technically a credit card purchase so the bank is actually supposed to be liable for it, but unlike a credit card purchase, the money has already left your account - you have to fight them to get it back.

Re:How the hell ? (1)

th3rmite (938737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138740)

I have never understood all of the craziness and paranoia surrounding "identity theft/fraud". As far as I'm concerned it is just bank fraud. A bank was tricked into thinking somebody was somebody else. If somebody takes a bunch of loans out in my name, I'll just refuse to pay. They have to PROVE IT WAS ME who got those loans.

Re:How the hell ? (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138854)

You might be surprised at what a creditor can get away with if they believe you owe them money. They can't send somebody to beat you up every month, but they can still make your life pretty miserable.

Yeah, they'd have to prove it was you in order to force you to pay. But you have to prove it wasn't you in order to force them to stop trying to collect...

Re:How the hell ? (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138820)

Merchants are liable for losses, not the banks. The banks have a great scam going.

Bank liability is one part of the equation, but access to credit is the other part. Chip and Pin only solves the actual credit card fraud portion. The liability in Europe's system is actually placed on the consumer, so with Chip and Pin, you don't have recourse to say it wasn't you making the purchase. If they crack that system, you are SOL.

Re:How the hell ? (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138952)

Good point. Yeah, the bank is liable - but they'll just charge back the seller. And they get to keep their 3% fee (or whatever it is).

Re:How the hell ? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138834)

Just make banks liable for losses and they will make sure it doesn't happen very very fast.

Well it USED to be that if someone ROBBED A BANK, that the bank was liable. Somehow this got turned around and now its stealing YOUR IDENTITY, rather than ROBBING A FUCKING BANK.

Re:How the hell ? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139360)

Both the article and Slashdot summary do a good job of calling it fraud instead of theft. So a step in the right direction.

Scareware (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138254)

Is this inversely proportional to the amount of scareware we've been seeing in recent years?

What the... (1)

Bjecas (1753752) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138256)

Spam levels dropping, less identity fraud... It's all about censorship and connecting to twitter through smoke signals nowadays.

Give me back my internets!!

Re:What the... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35139016)

Don't worry, we will have another type of crime popping up. Botnet client software and rootkits are the only type of software that is actually maturing in stability and reliability, when in the past that sort of stuff put such a drag on the CPU and HDD, it was obvious.

What we will see are replacements for overt ID theft. We will see malware that takes control of browsers so when someone logs in their checking account, the malware does a money transfer, but the browser shows that the cash is still in place, even when juggling stuff around.

Similar with FB and other accounts. Someone logs in, while the user is being presented one set of info about what they are doing, the botnet client will be futzing with their permissions and adding dubious applications to their profile in hopes of infecting others.

Of course, don't forget the big money-maker -- getting a malware payload into embedded systems. Stuxnet showed the world this is possible, so I'm sure that a factory mill maker would be a prime target for something similar to this so their products would randomly just destroy themselves, or car makers would end up with computers on random vehicles that wouldn't turn off and would randomly destroy engines with misfirings. Don't forget aerospace too... a blackhat getting a malware payload into a fly-by-wire aircraft's embedded circuitry to do something spectacular would make a coup for their organization just as big as 9-11.

The economy hits everyone hard. (1)

ddd0004 (1984672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138286)

This might simply be a temporary decline based on the economic downturn. People have less money to be lost and are overall more hesitant to get involved in any transaction, fraudulant or legit.

Re:The economy hits everyone hard. (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139608)

Or it could be AOL users dying off.

a note on ebay collection practices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35138290)

We've gotten up to 20 calls per day, from 3-5 states, on a tab of 150$. scary. We've gone back into private sales, doing ok (feeding the babies etc...). We'll pay the bay any day now, butt what a load of excess. Has to cost more than we owe to barrage like that with live folks who are obnoxious/bullying. As for the auction service, it was ok too, if not increasingly expensive (see also overdue/trying too hard?). Carry on.

likely all part of that almost nothing worthwhile (except maybe the revolution) can occur until care of all the babies (mostly by their parents, if they're still alive), is in place.

almost forgot that was on 400$ in sales, plus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35140912)

we had to pay over 100$ in overages to one checking account (when the account came 30 days, they barraged our checking like they use the phone). so, the cost of (admitted, trying too hard on the bay's dime) ebay testing can be 30% commission+fees. Sort of like gotti/billygates?

Well, that's good new, but . . . (4, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138308)

A colleague of mine was a victim; it's a royal pain in the ass to get straightened out. The perpetrator somehow got a hold of his Social Security number, and got a credit card in my colleague's name at either Lowe's or Home Depot (building suppliers, for the non US folks). The perpetrator maxed out the card in one day. Since the crook gave a false address, my colleague never got the bill. So it wasn't paid, and this set off some sort off nuclear credit chain reaction which blocked all his credit cards. When he finally figured out what happened, it took him weeks to get it all right again. So the money is the smallest problem. It's the collateral damage that is the big problem.

Re:Well, that's good new, but . . . (2)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138568)

Your system is fucked up. A number is all it takes to claim a credit card!? Seriously? Around here, they need to retain copies of your passport or other form of ID for any loan..

Re:Well, that's good new, but . . . (1)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138594)

And a person needs to validate the id against the person getting the loan. No blind loans. After text message loan boom, this became a law I belive.

Re:Well, that's good new, but . . . (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138694)

Your system sounds like lenders trying to cover their own asses. Which makes sense, but it's a trade off.

It's in Lowe's best interest to make it easy for people to get credit. Nobody wants to bring in their passport or birth certificate to get $150 credit on a refrigerator.

The drawback is that anybody flaunting the correct 9-digit number can get money that traces back to you, but the system is designed in such a way that you can get it straightened out. It's just a big hassle, as PolygamousRanchKid said. And Lowe's is on the hook for it, which they accepted as a risk of doing business.

Re:Well, that's good new, but . . . (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35140614)

In my case, they got my SSN, name, DOB and address, but had my mother's maiden name wrong. The credit card company ("cough*Capital One*cough*) approved the card despite this and even let them change the address on the card before it was activated. Luckily for me, the thieves paid for rush shipment of the card and it went out before the address change took effect. So the card came to me and I was able to stop the damage from this incident before anything major took place.

Still, I now know that my private personal information is out there (from where I haven't a clue) and will need to guard my credit report for years to come. We've put a freeze on our credit files which means that nobody can open new credit lines without us first "thawing" the files. It costs some money to do and is a pain at times, but it's much better than getting a collection agency knocking down my door for nonpayment of a credit card that I never opened!

Re:Well, that's good new, but . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35140896)

Your system is fucked up.

Yes, it is, but the moneyed like it the way it is, so this is how it stays.

Re:Well, that's good new, but . . . (1)

slashdottedjoe (1448757) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138662)

I say screw the store. Sorry, but if you are willing to lend thousands of dollars somebody you do not know except from a short conversation, it should be your loss.

Every credit card should have a delay and you must send in a confirmation from a received statement before it goes online. I would be fine with having that procedure. The idea I must open a line of credit TODAY or I die is a big reason for this problem. Stores love it, I am sure, but it should be their risk.

Credit card issuers should have this be the norm. Maybe they should split the loss with the stores.

Re:Well, that's good new, but . . . (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138786)

Yeah, well - it is the store's loss. You can get things straightened out and have the debt taken off your account and get the credit report fixed, but that takes time and is a big hassle.

However it would also be a hassle if Home Depot or Lowe's made every person who wanted in-store credit show a birth certificate or passport. They take a calculated risk by not doing so.

Re:Well, that's good new, but . . . (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138928)

Still, it shouldn't result in a hassle for me when Lowe's issues a credit card to someone else.

People that have never been caught cheating should be able to (fully!) repudiate an account by sending a simple form letter to the party that issued the credit. Once someone has been caught cheating, they should still be able to repudiate an account, but it should take more than a letter saying it they are not the party that opened the account.

That this would require issuers of credit to take reasonable steps to confirm the identity of potential borrowers really doesn't bother me one bit.

Re:Well, that's good new, but . . . (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139012)

Shouldn't, but it would be awfully easy for debtors to abuse the system if a simple form letter was all that was required to get them off your back.

Re:Well, that's good new, but . . . (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139296)

Of course any realization of it would have to account for bad actors, it just has the advantage of punishing bad actors for actual bad actions rather than punishing uninvolved third parties for having a name.

Also, lenders would be able to anticipate fraudulent letters when designing their identity verification, so it should be fairly straightforward for them to demonstrate that a letter is fraudulent.

Re:Well, that's good new, but . . . (1)

slashdottedjoe (1448757) | more than 3 years ago | (#35140302)

I wish you had to opt in to simple credit approvals, instead of struggling to opt out. I do not want anybody to get a credit card in my name without a serious check on their identity, including me! It is just so irritating that it is so easy.

Re:Well, that's good new, but . . . (1)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138666)

Does filing a false mark against your credit rating due to having failed to establish identity correctly constitute slander/libel under the law?

Does the judge hearing the case have credit cards? (1)

Marrow (195242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138876)

More importantly; Does his wife?

Re:Well, that's good new, but . . . (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35140642)

The credit agencies have tons of cash to pay top notch lawyers to defend themselves and lobbyists to write laws in their favor. Even if a group of ID theft victims pooled their resources, I don't think they'd get much beyond a token settlement.

Re:Well, that's good new, but . . . (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138698)

In my experience Home Depot / Lowe's tend to give out insanely high limits on their cards, usually in the five digit range depending on what you buy. Shafting a chain hardware store for 25 grand tends to draw a little more ire than shafting Best Buy for a laptop and a stereo.

If you get a card from one of them, pay it off and cancel it. At one point, over a third of my 'available credit' was on one of their cards.

28% reduction you say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35138346)

Run that by me ag... Oh.

Verification of identity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35138402)

As a European recently moved to the Americas I'm frequently baffled by the procedures of identity verification. Most places require "2 pieces of identity" so on the one hand it means that my international passport must be supported by something like a utility bill, which I find hilarious. On the other hand it allows for a chain of weaker proofs of identity being used to obtain more solid ones. Then when you contact an institution over phone, they try to verify your addres by asking easily findable public information like date of birth, or I kid you not, postal address. When I pointed this out to the phone company last time I had to call them, they offered me to "set a password". I repeat: when I complained that the question they just asked me was meaningless as a method of identity verification they agreed and offered me, at that point an unverified individual, to lock the account down with a password. Good job. In Europe we have hard to fake Government issued IDs for everyone. They have a whole set of other problems involving privacy and such, but identity fraud is not one of them.

Re:Verification of identity (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138638)

As a European recently moved to the Americas I'm frequently baffled by the procedures of identity verification.

How do you allow businesses (whom run the government) to profit by the presence of somewhere in the magnitude of 1e7 illegal aliens, yet not open the system too wide for theft?

Also note that a fraction of the "theft" is actually fraud, and how do you set up procedures to catch at least some of the fraud. Yes thats all very terrible when someone has to spend X hours of their life cleaning up a $Z "theft". Now would you accept $Y in cash, where $Y/X is some multiple of your hourly wage, to ...

Given those two datapoints, which you apparently don't have, things will make a little more sense...

Re:Verification of identity (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139038)

In Europe we have hard to fake Government issued IDs for everyone.

No we don't. Lots of Europeans don't have government issued IDs.

Re:Verification of identity (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139604)

A passport has no address, so supplying some proof of it is hardly "hilarious". Easy setup and access to accounts works fine 99% of the time in the US and is not more disturbing than having your identity verified through the government's secret service apparatus on a daily basis or losing your phone service because you forgot a password and are no longer authorized to access such a high-security device.

Re:Verification of identity (1)

NoSig (1919688) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139794)

Americans don't want the government to know that they exist, apparently. They have to go door to door asking how many people live in each house in order to even know how many people live in the US. They do it every ten years. No wonder anyone can pretend to be anyone.

Credit Card theft is not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35138456)

Stealing ones credit card is for the most part not identiy theft. Your not liable, you dont loose anything but a credit card until its replaced. Remove those nubmers from the survey and i bet it changes.

Total BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35138478)

This does not account for the millions of illegal aliens that steal identities to work in the US illegally. Just because there isn't as much fraud with these stolen identities doesn't mean there's a decline in the number of them. Come to Arizona some time people here have their identities stolen by illegal aliens all the time.

The reason (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138530)

These days, the victims don't have any money to steal. Just debts, and most thieves don't want to steal that!

Yay (1)

Wallslide (544078) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138646)

Now that it's notable, it has a chance of being accepted as a Wikipedia article right?

Here's what pisses me off (3, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138702)

Somebody used my wife's credit card number to buy merchandise and ship it to an address on the opposite coast. So she called up the credit card company and asked them what address was used. They refused to give it to her, citing privacy concerns! WTF, the identity thief's right to privacy now trumps the cardholder's right to go there and kick their ass?

Re:Here's what pisses me off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35138900)

Baffling. One would presume that all information on the account belongs to the cardholder, regardless of whether it was put there by that person or not.

I think some clueless service rep had their head up their ass. No way that's actual policy...

Re:Here's what pisses me off (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138910)

WTF, the identity thief's right to privacy now trumps the cardholder's right to go there and kick their ass?

Um, no... you don't have the right to go take the law into your own hands... but I'm pretty sure they'd comply with a police investigation.

Re:Here's what pisses me off (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35140842)

You would think they would. The credit card company my local police dealt with in my case just gave them the runaround though until we all gave up. They have more resources than local law enforcement and they know it. They might pay attention to the Feds, but the federal government's not going to open an investigation for each and every case of identity theft/fraud.

Re:Here's what pisses me off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35138932)

Of course it does. It took thousands of years to civilizations to adopt this system called "justice" - you know, the one with courts and lawyers, not the one with shotguns. Sure it's not perfect, but still better than your proposal.

Re:Here's what pisses me off (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139176)

Because the banks are corrupt first, and asshats at their core second.

If you do not have millions in the bank then you are a bother to them and they honestly want you gone.

Honestly, all banks have meetings in the morning on how they can screw the customers today.

Re:Here's what pisses me off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35139252)

Somebody used my wife's credit card number to buy merchandise and ship it to an address on the opposite coast. So she called up the credit card company and asked them what address was used. They refused to give it to her, citing privacy concerns! WTF, the identity thief's right to privacy now trumps the cardholder's right to go there and kick their ass?

Why does she care? Call the card company, reverse the charge, ask for a new card, get card two days later, go on living.

Re:Here's what pisses me off (1)

Jumperalex (185007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139638)

Nooooo they simply do not know that she is who she says she is. Look at it from their perspective, someone calls them, feeds them a story, and then tries to gain information that could aide in the commision of identity theft. It is an annoying catch-22 but there you have it. It does eventually get rectified and believe it or not there are ways to deal with it without getting the information, it just means being creative.

Re:Here's what pisses me off (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139654)

Typically a thief will have it delivered to a neighbor and then pick it off their porch as soon as it is dropped off... not sure what you were planning to do with the address.

Because banks are profiting from fraud (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35139698)

Someone stole my credit card and used it to purchase crap on the internet and get it shipped to me. Why to me? Because the fraudsters got a kick back on the sale for the referral.
I noted something interesting. The packages for me arrived at my house thanks to USPS, but they had the wrong address.
I called the vendors who charged my credit card and shipped the merchandise, and I learned a few interesting things.
1. The vendors did not have my correct address or phone number, yet my credit card company allowed them to charge my card anyway. WTF?
2. The vendors were very eager to refund me the money, even if I did not return the merchandise, because the credit card company would charge them a very large fee if they got a "charge-back."

It appears to me that banks are fine with fraud, because either
1. you won't notice the wrong charges on your card, or
2. they'll make money by stiffing the vendors.

Re:Here's what pisses me off (1)

jittles (1613415) | more than 3 years ago | (#35140238)

Had this same thing happen to me this last year, actually. I didn't ask for the address, but I did call the police to file a police report. Their response was "Why are you calling us?" They filed a report but said it was useless. Thing is, I check my credit cards every freaking day. I caught that at 8am the day AFTER it happened. It probably hadn't even shipped yet. That would have made for a great stake out. It just made me feel like the law enforcement was being lazy (though they may have had more serious crimes, like murder to deal with?).

Anyway. I was going on a business trip the next day, so the bank agreed to keep the card open until I got back and then mailed a replacement card (new number) to my house the day before Thanksgiving. I was quite impressed with their customer service. The bank was Chase, but they said they normally don't overnight cards. I've been with them for about 10 years though and they wanted to make sure I was happy. It was literally no fuss.

Re:Here's what pisses me off (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35140766)

I don't think it is that law enforcement is lazy. It's that they're (sadly) realistic. The officer I spoke with in my case told me that if we found out that the criminal in question was in another city or state, they would need to turn the case over to that precinct. That precinct would then have to track the criminal down, arrest him, try him (if you needed to testify, you'd have to travel there). Your local police department would have done some work but wouldn't see the outcome. They, unfortunately, think their resources are better devoted elsewhere.

There's also the problem of the address being for someone who has been duped into mailing the products back out to the real thieves who are in another country. Then you get some low-level flunky or some well-meaning-but-scammed person while the real "masterminds" continue their operations untouched.

Re:Here's what pisses me off (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35140680)

When my identity was stolen and used to open a credit card, Capital One told me they couldn't give me the address because I might go there and shoot the person and then they'd be liable! So I referred the police to them. Then they gave the police the runaround as well. Eventually, we just gave up on finding the thieves and focused on securing our credit file.

Framing the question: Credit Fraud, not Identity (3, Insightful)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 3 years ago | (#35138886)

While "Identity Fraud" is a step up from "Identity Theft", it still poses it as a problem of the victim. In car theft, you are out one car. Did you leave it unlocked? Did you park in a bad side of town? It's somewhat your problem.

In "Identity Theft", you are often nowhere near the crime, or really had no way to stop it. Underpaid waiter writes down your visa number and expiration date while you pay your bill - bam! Someone calls the bank knowing your mother's maiden name and your grade school - bam!

Yet somehow, it's your fault.

Identity fraud is better - someone has been busy defrauding people - it's not you. By moving it away from the word 'theft' to 'fraud', it puts people in a different frame of mind, like forgery and such where the victim really has no chance of stopping it from happening.

But: identity fraud is still different from credit fraud, and the press seems to like lumping them together. We already have laws on the books for when someone defrauds a bank claiming to be you, yet the current debate and billing systems still put it in YOUR lap. As soon as we get a good consumer lobbyist in place, we'll get the laws changed to make the banks take responsibility when someone lies to them, instead of you being responsible for cleaning up the mess.

Ok, that last one was a bit of a fantasy. Sorry about that.

Re:Framing the question: Credit Fraud, not Identit (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139222)

Why are you telling the waiter your mum's maiden name

Re:Framing the question: Credit Fraud, not Identit (3, Insightful)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139502)

With so many children born out of wedlock and divorces theres good chances that someones mothers maiden name is their current last name.

Mother's maiden name = password (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35140962)

It's a just a password, and I've been using a arbitrary uncommon name since they started asking dozens of years ago.

a) I don't want you to know anything about my mother
b) I know they don't care to check because no one has... it's just a password.

Re:Framing the question: Credit Fraud, not Identit (1)

oracleguy01 (1381327) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139690)

Plenty of people advertise that kind of information on Facebook. You can even indicate who your parents are on there. And they made it so if you get married you can still list your previous name so people can search for it.

While people are dumb for publicly giving that kind of information away (at least set your profile to private!); banks and other financial institutions should also have more rigorous security questions. Even better is what I've seen some sites do where instead of having 5-8 predefined security questions, they let you write your own.

Re:Framing the question: Credit Fraud, not Identit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35139922)

I'm not, they just look her up on facebook, since she uses her maiden name to re-connect with all her old friends.

Re:Framing the question: Credit Fraud, not Identit (1)

David Jao (2759) | more than 3 years ago | (#35140358)

Why are you telling the waiter your mum's maiden name

It's very very easy to find out someone's mother's maiden name just from public records [psu.edu] .

Re:Framing the question: Credit Fraud, not Identit (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35140804)

Maiden name's not really needed. A thief (and yes, I think of him/her as a thief) opened an account in my name using my name, address, SSN and date of birth. They got my mother's maiden name wrong, but the credit card company still approved the (online) application and sent them the card. Luckily, they used my address and then tried to update it and the card went to me instead of them. Otherwise, they would have activated it, maxed it out and stuck me with the bill.

Re:Framing the question: Credit Fraud, not Identit (1)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 3 years ago | (#35140836)

Why are you telling the waiter your mum's maiden name?

Actually, one of the more common cases in the credit fraud is among relatives. One person in a family has decent credit, and another member - not so good. Siblings are somewhat common, while aunts and cousins are less so.

Having data that's part of public record being made into the 'secret question' is pretty bad. Some questions aren't so public (like 'where did you meet your spouse?'), but the whole system is based off of the ability to start these lines of credit - or criminal arrests - with the use of 'secret questions' just means that the crime is easier if the criminal knows you.

My brother just got out of four years of jail for a crime he DID commit. Unfortunately, some bozo gave my brother's name when he got arrested, so now my brother has an "AKA" on his rap sheet.

Re:Framing the question: Credit Fraud, not Identit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35140316)

I see a lot of posts here talking about how helpless you all are. I've had my digits stolen many times and used. One phone call to the CC company, and it's taken care of. Most of the time, they call me. What the fuck is wrong with you people and the banks you choose to do business with? I have 2 credit cards -- Discover and Amex. They don't fuck around. I have no other debts at this time, and those cards are used for charge-cards and I accumulate rewards that I trade in for junk. It's easier than carrying cash. I live in the US.

I think most of you are up to your asses in debt and any sort of fraud wrecks havoc on your already flimsy situation and causes a chain reaction of shit that you can't sort out. I was lucky enough to learn at the age of 16 to not rack up credit card debt under any circumstances and also that I would be shunned by the majority of the populace for this point of view. Who the fuck is laughing now?

Re:Framing the question: Credit Fraud, not Identit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35140350)

Make it hard for the weak-sister, no-integrity-having d-bag thieves: contact the 3 credit bureaus and place a credit freeze on your account. This service is still free and prevents anyone (inclduing you) from opening a new line of credit. Just be sure to hang on to the PINs each one provides you! I learned this lesson the hard way when I tried to re-fi my mortgage! (I did eventually get everything straigtened out)

Still pretty prevalent on IRC, though (1)

cain (14472) | more than 3 years ago | (#35139488)

* ab is away - gone, if anyone talks in the next 25 minutes as me it's ba being an asshole -
[ab] HAHAHA DISREGARD THAT, I SUCK COCKS

http://bash.org/?5775 [bash.org]

Less stupid as time goes on (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#35140592)

I guess it means we are all getting a bit smarter and wiser to the different schemes out there...although there are still some that would believe that if you send them some money in nigeria their royalty family will be able to send you mountains of money.

28% drop (1)

Enigma23 (460910) | more than 3 years ago | (#35140700)

Isn't that roughly the same amount that spam has dropped by recently..?

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