Two years ago I wrote an article asking the question Is Your Digital Identity Safe?
Two days ago I read an Infosecurity Magazine article stating Identity Theft Will Get Worse.
Specific to your digital identity and today’s threat landscape for consumers and small businesses, cyber thieves and ID theft criminals have evolved to the point where hacking and data breaches will happen at any time and can affect anyone.
As for the statement “identity theft will get worse,” the fact is that 2021 surpassed the all-time record for data breaches exposing the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of millions of Americans.
As a reminder, examples of PII include:
Name: full name, maiden name, mother’s maiden name, or alias
Personal identification numbers: social security number (SSN), passport number, driver’s license number, taxpayer identification number, patient identification number, employee or student identification number, financial account or credit card number
Personal address information: street address, or email address
Personal telephone numbers
Personal characteristics: photographic images (particularly of face or other identifying characteristics), fingerprints, or handwriting
Biometric data: retina scans, voice signatures, or facial geometry
Information identifying personally owned property: VIN number or title number
Asset information: Internet Protocol (IP) or Media Access Control (MAC) addresses that consistently link to a particular person
And now our digital world, combined with a two-year pandemic, has both consumers and small businesses worried, weary and uncertain about cybercriminals and their new scams.
If you are a consumer, recent digital risk examples making today’s headline news include How to avoid buying fake Covid tests online and BBB warns consumers of hackers posing as apps like Paypal and Venmo to steal your money.
Cyber thieves and ID theft criminals depend on human nature and emotion such as an individual’s tendency to trust others (e.g. phishing and vishing) and desperation (e.g. the chaos of supply chain shortages such as Covid-19 tests). These phishing and vishing tactics and fake websites have gained attention in recent weeks over the increasing number of identity theft victims.
If you are a small business owner – trusting others and desperation are common risk factors just like a consumer – but it gets worse as Cyber risks top worldwide business concerns in 2022.
According to the just released 12th Annual Allianz Risk Barometer Survey, cyber incidents top the Allianz Risk Barometer for only the second time in the survey’s history.
Cyber incidents rank as a top three peril as the threat of ransomware attacks, data breaches or major IT outages worries businesses even more than business interruption, supply chain disruption and the COVID-19 pandemic.
To conclude, cyber thieves and ID theft criminals continue to find new and innovative ways to steal your personal information.
Both consumers and small business owners need to increase their information security education and awareness to protect their digital identity as hackers are coming after you in 2022.