CINCINNATI, OH (November 26, 2017) – This year, 48 percent (78 million) of Americans are expected to shop on Cyber Monday, and amidst the hustle and bustle, consumers may become vulnerable to what the Social Security Administration calls one of the nation's fastest growing crimes—identity theft.
Identity theft is on the rise as two million additional people in the United States fell victim in 2016, according to the Javelin Strategy & Research. For that reason, AAA urges consumers to take precautions when online shopping on Cyber Monday or any other day of the year.
Javelin’s 2017 report states that $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016, compared with $15.3 billion and 13.1 million victims in 2015. In the past six years identity thieves have stolen more than $107 billion from consumers. Recovering from this crime is a time-consuming and expensive process.
“Headlines continue to be filled with stories of data security breaches at some of the nation’s largest companies,” says Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman. “It’s more than bad luck when you become a victim of identity theft. It can be a nightmare.”
AAA offers free to all members ProtectMyID® Essential backed by Experian, one of the nation’s three major credit bureaus. ProtectMyID Essential includes a credit report upon enrollment, daily monitoring of your Experian credit report, lost wallet assistance and fraud resolution support. Premier members also receive $10,000* in insurance for out-of-pocket expenses related to identity theft. AAA members can activate this new benefit at AAA.com/IDTheft or by calling 1-877-440-6943.
Steps you can take to protect your identity:
- Don't access secure websites, such as online banking, from shared computers or on public WiFi.
- Check the security of online stores before you purchase.
- Use the privacy settings on social networking sites to ensure you're only sharing information with those you trust.
- Only provide your Social Security number when necessary, such as for employment, tax forms or bank records.
- Be careful opening files, links, emails, etc. from unknown sources or from a friend's account that may have been hacked.
- Shred all sensitive information before throwing in the trash.
- When sharing personal information with certain professionals, such as tax preparers or mortgage lenders, be sure to choose companies you trust.
- Review your credit report at least once a year. You can request a free annual credit report from each of the three national credit reporting companies at www.annualcreditreport.com.
The resurgence in card fraud in 2016, saw an increase of 40 percent in card-not-present (CNP) fraud, according to the Javelin study. The study also found that the increase in chip-enabled cards and terminals was a catalyst for driving fraudsters to shift to fraudulently opening new accounts. On a positive note, while fraudsters are becoming better at evading detection, consumers with an online presence are getting better at detecting fraud quicker, leading to less stolen overall per attempt.
“Every three seconds, someone in the United States falls victim to ID theft,” added Moore. “By signing up for identity theft monitoring, AAA members are getting something invaluable. ProtectMyID is another important way for AAA to provide peace of mind, just like we do for motorists at the roadside.”
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.