Equifax Identity Theft Data Poses Risk for Retailers and Shoppers This Holiday Season
From the Business Wire:
MELVILLE, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Intellicheck (NYSE AMERICAN: IDN) President and CEO Bryan Lewis warns that the personally identifiable data stolen during the Equifax breach is going to be a problem this holiday season with fraudsters poised to take advantage of high-volume consumer shopping.
“In data breach scenarios like the one we saw with Equifax, fraudsters typically wait up to 18 months before using the personally identifiable information they’ve stolen. Based on when that breach occurred, we expect this to be a very dangerous holiday shopping season as the data in hackers’ hands from the Equifax breach should be hitting the market now, just as the holiday shopping season is in full swing. The timing couldn’t be worse for retailers and holiday shoppers,” Lewis explained.
There were 145 million names, social security numbers and dates of birth compromised during the Equifax breach in July of last year. But, it’s not just the Equifax breach. Javelin Strategy and Research puts the total value of identity theft at nearly $17 billion dollars last year. On average, an identity was stolen every 1.88 seconds in the US in 2017. More than 57 million records have been exposed thus far this year according to The Identity Theft Resource Center.
Lewis noted that fraudsters know that holiday shopping means retailers are seeing a larger volume of transactions and new account openings as well as increased buy on line pick-up in store purchases. They also see opportunities because they know that retailers experience a higher volume of returns during and after the holiday shopping season. At the same time, consumers are making a larger number of purchases than they would normally. These factors give the advantage to identity thieves.
Lewis urged consumers to be alert when they are making their purchases. “Credit cards are a better payment option than a debit card because money is not being taken out of your bank account that can be tied up for a length of time while you go through the dispute process. Consumers should also be vigilant after the fact by watching their account statements to be sure charges are valid,” he said. He also advised consumers to be careful about online purchases and suggested limiting shopping to sites that offer payment security features. Additionally, he recommended that shoppers avoid clicking on links in emails without confirming the sender is legitimate.
The identification authentication expert also offered advice to retailers. “It’s never too late to act. You need to put a technology solution in place to prevent the use of fraudulently obtained data. Protection measures can quickly and easily be put into place that can be simply integrated at the point-of-sale as well as on mobile devices including smartphones and tablets.”
Lewis said retailers should look at a technology solution that provides a proven track record for accuracy, is inexpensive and effortless for the business to adopt and deploy and is easy for their employees to use, while providing a frictionless customer experience.