A recent article by Kelly Phillips Erb, published in Forbes, discusses the latest trend in identity theft, new account fraud. The article cites a report from Javelin Strategy and Research which states that identity thieves have stolen $112 billion over the past six years. Broken down, this equals $35,600 stolen each minute. Fraud is ever-evolving. This makes it difficult for law enforcement to fix the problem. Data suggests that new account fraud increased by 113% last year.
What is new account fraud?
The author states that new account fraud is when thieves use your personal information, such as a Social Security Number (SSN), to open new credit cards or apply for mortgages. New account fraud leads to a delay in reporting, since you will not find out right away if a new account has been created in your name, compared to when someone steals your credit card information.
Personal Identifiable Information
When data hacks and security breaches happen, taxpayers’ personal identifiable information (PII) becomes compromised. PIIs are used by fraudsters and many times can be purchased or sold on the black market. PIIs can be used to steal your tax refund.
How to protect you identity during tax season?
The author offers seven tips to help protect you identity, which are:
- Guard your SSN
- Remain alert to announcements regarding security threats
- Avoid phishing emails and scams
- Use a legitimate tax preparer
- Pay attention to passwords and security features
- Take data breach notifications seriously
- File early and plan ahead