In 2011, nearly 12 million Americans were victim of identity fraud, a 13 percent jump from 2010.  People are monitoring credit cards more thoroughly then ever before and credit card companies have beefed up their security procedures to help prevent fraud.  So why the increase in fraud?

Turns out that thieves have moved on to smartphones and social media.  People tend to let their guard down a little bit when dealing with the phone and social networks, leaving the door open for scammers to take advantage of them.

One thing to keep in mind is that thieves are always one step ahead of security.

Last year, hackers stole millions of names and email addresses from Epsilon, the marketing division of Alliance Data Systems Corp. That firm sends email marketing information on behalf of major banks, retailers and hotels, among others. Citigroup Inc also reported a large data theft, not to mention the Sony Playstation theft of 10′s of millions of users.

So what can we take away from this report?  That top of the line smartphone you just bought could be your biggest security problem if it is not secured properly.  Also:

  • Be careful about the apps you download.
  • Password protect your home and mobile devices.
  • Monitor your credit cards by checking their use online or reading the statements carefully.

 

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