Identity theft is the act of someone stealing another person’s identity and assuming the stolen identity. In the digital age, online identity theft is an increasingly perpetrated crime often with the intention to obtain credit card information and other valuable personal and/or financial data.
We've compiled a list of resources below that should help you reduce the risk of identity theft and help you out and limit the damage in case it happened already.
Preventive and Detection Services
These services will help in detecting, preventing and responding to online identity theft.
- Norton – Norton Anti-Theft is an installed program that locks personal devices such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smart phones to prevent unauthorized users from stealing personal information stored in each device.
- Kasperksy – Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 is an installed program expressly designed to protect PC devices from Internet-based security breaches. It shields a user’s computer from viruses, phishing attempts, online shopping and banking security holes, and privacy attacks.
- Trend Micro – Trend Micro provides a custom defense solution adapted to each user’s and business’s online security needs. Advanced threat detection and data analytics enable it to keep intruders away from secured data.
- Trust Guard – Trust Guard protects websites from security breaches and privacy intrusions that hackers use to steal website information, including website visitor and user data, which can then be used to commit online identity theft.
- Nationwide – Nationwide provides identity theft insurance coverage. Subscribers can call a hotline to enlist the help of identity theft experts who will assist in placing calls and processing documents to all affected creditors, banks and agencies.
- PhishGuru – Simulates a phishing attack to teach organizations how to spot phishing emails, and to safely and easily deal with the threat. Gathers actionable data to improve future training sessions.
- Vasco – Vasco offers strong authentication and e-signature solutions that secures sensitive information primarily for financial institutions, specializing in online accounts, identities and transactions.
- GeoTrust – World’s second largest digital certificate provider that helps secure online transactions. It offers digital certificate and trust products primarily for organizations to secure their digital transactions in a cost-effective way.
- SafeCentral – Offers homes users, businesses and banks the ability to secure transactions by locking out desktop malware and establishing trusted web connections. It is designed to block key-loggers, screen-scrapers and other malware agents designed to secretly steal personal data.
- Identity Theft Protection Services in the US – A market research report from IBISWorld that measures the growing industry of identity theft protection, the breadth of services companies are now offering, and a who’s who of the competition landscape.
Government Guidance on Identity Theft
A list of essential government notices, guides and legal advisories on identity theft.
- Identity Theft and Identity Fraud 101 – A layman’s explanation of identity theft from the United States Department of Justice. Also lists the most common ways to commit identity theft or fraud, and how to avoid becoming a victim.
- Identity Theft Action and Protection Guide – The Federal Trade Commission’s guide on what to do if you have become a victim of identity theft. Also includes pro-active steps on preventing identity theft.
- A How-To Brochure on Avoiding Identify Theft – A printable information brochure from the Federal Trade Commission that contains all the critical information needed to reduce the likelihood of identity theft.
- Fighting Back Against Identity Theft – Divides the action response into three D’s – Deterrence so that malicious persons do not have a chance to steal valuable data, Detection of suspicious activity through regular monitoring, and Defense tactics once identity theft and fraud are detected.
- Victims of Identity Theft – 2008 data published by the US Bureau of Justice Statistics on the victim demographics of identity theft, compiled from the National Crime Victimization Survey covering roughly 56,000 US household residents – the first ever departmental data on the subject.
- Consumer Guide on Identity Theft – The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s practical guide on how consumers can prevent identity theft, and which companies and agencies to contact when identity theft occurs.
- How to Be On Guard Online – Portal that teaches online security with customized sections for educators, parents, techies, small businesses, military personnel and kids. Also publishes regular blog posts from online security educators and experts.
- Status of IRS Initiatives to Help Victimized Taxpayers – A study on what the US Internal Revenue Service has been doing to assist the victims of identity theft, which it says is a serious and growing problem in the country.
- 2011 Internet Crime Report – A comprehensive annual report on internet crimes, including identity theft, filled with complaint statistics, case highlights and an update on the advanced technology law enforcement is now using to address internet crimes.
- Resources to Prevent Identity Theft – The National Crime Prevention Council submits its own list of tips to prevent identity theft. Visitors can freely download brochures, reports and presentations that help spread awareness on identity theft and its prevention.
- How to Protect Yourself and Get Help – The Federal Bureau of Investigation provides sound practical advice on how the general public can safeguard their identity, including an insightful POV from an actual agent, plus what victims should do in the event of an attack.
Non-Government and Academic Guidance on Identity Theft
A list of essential non-government and academic notices, guides and legal advisories on identity theft.
- Identity Theft State Statutes – A chart of all the identity theft criminal penalties, restitution and identity theft passport laws in each state in the United States.
- PayPal Guide to Spot Phishing – A succinct summary on how to spot phishing and how consumers can protect themselves from phishing. Also offers a Phishing Challenge, which is a quiz that helps familiarize users on phishing emails.
- Microsoft Safety and Security Portal – The leading computer software maker has compiled tips on how to guard against online identity thieves, primarily through updating the Microsoft Office security program and actively removing viruses that could enable pathways for online theft.
- Anti-Phishing Phil Game – Carnegie Mellon developed this interactive game that teaches users how to identify phishing links, how to decipher browser data for clues on phishing, and navigating the potentially booby-trapped search engines to access only safe legitimate sites.
- Phishing Education Education Landing Page Program – Specifically teaches users who have been phished or have followed a link to an identified phishing site. Creates so-called teachable moments from phishing incidences
- Identity Theft: Making the Known Unknowns – A Harvard Journal of Law & Technology article discussing a range of issues surrounding identity theft, from the challenges government and financial institutions are facing when dealing with identity theft to proposed actions to improve the mechanisms protecting the public.
Case Studies and Research Papers
A compilation of case studies and research papers on online identity theft, identity theft victims, and attack prevention
- Identity Theft as No.1 Scourge Among Consumers – A report from the Federal Trade Commission that identity theft remains as the top consumer complaint for 13 years running now. Includes data trends on identity theft and victim behavior following an attack.
- 2013 Identity Fraud Report – A report from Javelin Strategy on the increasing rate of identity fraud, specifically in new account fraud and account takeover fraud. Also delves deep into the factors that increase the susceptibility of victims to identity fraud.
- 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report – The latest annual report from Verizon that tracks the growth of threat actions such as malware and hacking that lead to data breaches and their impact across the globe. Packed with some of the most comprehensive and recent data on online security and identity theft.
- Online Identity Theft Methods – “A Scoping Paper on Online Identity Theft” from OECD describes the different methods that identity thieves use to obtain personal information. It also explores how identity thieves go about misusing the stolen information.
- Vulnerabilities to Phishing – “Anti-phishing technology” white paper from Kaspersky discusses the reasoning behind and process of online data theft. It also cites alarming statistical data on general consumer vulnerabilities to phishing.
- Encryption Benefits “Encryption for PCI Compliance” white paper from DigiCert on how encryption helps businesses from having their systems compromised, which may lead to thousands if not millions of dollars in related expenses and losses.
- Data Breaches that Could Lead to Identity Theft – A statistics-heavy overview on data breaches that could lead to identity theft from Symantec. It takes note the severity of the breaches based on how much they exposed consumer identities to attackers.
- Cost of Phishing Attacks – “Cost of Phishing: Understanding the True cost Dynamics behind Phishing Attacks” white paper from Cyveillance looks at how much phishing attacks are costing organizations.
- Targeted Attacks and How to Repel Them – “The Custom Defense against Targeted Attacks” white paper from Trend Micro that breaks down the distinguishing elements of a targeted attack, how it can wreak havoc on user systems, and how a custom defense solution can thwart these more advanced attacks.
- Identity Theft Research for UK – Country-specific data on the risk of identity theft in the United Kingdom from Experian. Its research found that identity thieves have moved away from targeting wealthy targets to prey on lower income victims.
- What You Need to Know to Avoid Identity Theft – An identity theft primer from McAfee that describes in detail the types of identity theft, how thieves steal identities, and the protection options available to users.