Top 10 Identity Theft Predictions For 2010

I've joined forces with the Identity Theft Resource Center to expand the pool of knowledge about identity theft

 By Robert Siciliano
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I've joined forces with the Identity Theft Resource Center to expand the pool of knowledge about identity theft issues.

As nationally recognized experts in this crime, we have come up with ten predictions for what the nation can expect in the area of identity theft in 2010 and beyond.

1. More Scams: The recession will lead to more scams. Whenever our nation has faced a difficult time, thieves have found a way to use the problem to their advantage. In my adult life, I've never seen more variations of old scams and the degree of sophistication in newer scams.

"Bottom line, there will be an increase in identity theft crimes and the number of victims over the next two years unless significant changes are made in information security.”

Robert Siciliano

2. Job Scams: Criminals will take advantage of increasing unemployment rates by tricking desperate people searching for job listings. These fake job listings and work-at-home scams will eventually end with the job seeker providing Social Security numbers to criminals. If the job description is not one that you would see printed on a business card or you are asked to front money, it's a scam.

3. Newbie Low Tech "Desperate” Identity Theft: Additionally, there will be an increase in the number of individuals – who have no criminal history – beginning to explore the crime of identity theft for financial gain. For these thieves, it will be about quick money. Once desperate people max out their credit limits and wreck their own credit histories; they will start to use Social Security Numbers that they can easily access.

These new identity thieves will take advantage of low tech methods – stealing credit card numbers, dumpster diving, making phone calls, or phishing for credit card numbers. These techniques may also include placing ads in auctions and Craigslist for phantom products for sale to get either credit card numbers or cash.

4. All-in-the-Family ID Theft: Desperation will lead to more child identity theft and "all-in-the-family” cases, as well as the fraudulent use of numbers belonging to close friends, roommates and fellow workers. It has long been documented that a significant percentage of identity theft cases are perpetrated by people close to the victim. We predict that this number will increase during these tough economic times.

5. Child Identity Theft: The ITRC has noted that nearly 10 percent of its case load, for the past six months, involved child identity theft issues. These cases often involve more varied components of identity theft than ever before. Some people have finally realized that a child's SSN can be used for more than just opening a line of credit.

6. Medical Identity Theft: While not a new crime, this will reflect the distress of those who have become unemployed. High COBRA premiums, growing individual medical insurance costs, or the inability to afford insurance or medical care will cause a spike in this area of identity theft. The Social Security Administration has noted an increase in uninsured people using the coverage of a friend, relative or even a stranger to get medical care.

This article was originally published on Dec 21, 2009
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