Risk of fraud skyrockets for data breach victims

Feb 07th, 2014 / Category: Email Encryption

Secure file sharing can help companies avoid data breaches and lost documents, a purpose that is all the more urgent following reports that identity fraud is growing. With high-profile retail data breaches showing forth astounding numbers in terms of how many people were affected, the rise of fraudsters actually making use of the information they obtain is greatly concerning.

Customers exposed by breach now more likely to be victims
According to recent study completed by Javelin Strategy & Research, criminals are now 3 times more likely to make purchases after obtaining someone's identification information than in the past. In 2013, 1 in 3 consumers notified of a breach became the victim of identity fraud, compared to 1 in 4 in 2012, the report revealed, amounting to 13.1 million fraud victims. Javelin completed the study in October - before the Target and other retail breaches were discovered. Adding to these findings, a recent PwC survey found that security incidents increased by 25 percent from 2012, Property Casualty 360 reported.

Although the price tag on identity fraudulent activities was lower than the past, the growing degree of fraudulent activity shows that criminals are becoming adept at utilizing personal information and are motivated by the profits.

"Consumers and businesses cannot let up the effort. Our study found that criminals are adapting their approach to focus on account takeover and they are effective at using the information they secure from data breaches," said Al Pascual, senior analyst of Security, Risk & Fraud at Javelin Strategy & Research. "Any complacency will provide fraudsters renewed opportunities."

Data breaches, the study found, were the greatest factor in exposing identification information to criminals.

Information needs to be guarded
It's impossible to avoid sharing data in the modern world. Consumers need to provide data to complete transactions and business employees need to share information to complete their tasks. However, as the likelihood that breaches will lead to subsequent criminal activity increases, it's all the more pressing for organizations to safeguard their information with high-end security solutions.

Recent reports indicate that the Target breach can be traced back to a takeover of one contract worker's account. From there, the cybercriminals were able to infiltrate the entire system. In other situations, breaches are caused when one employee disregards security protocol and leaves unencrypted information on a physical device. For this reason, it's important for companies to have comprehensive secure file sharing solutions that not only store data in protected environments, but also make it easy for employees to complete their workflows without exposing information.