U.S. lawmakers proposed legislation Wednesday to combat the pilfering of tax refunds, now the most common type of identity theft-related fraud in the country.
The Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigations division is shifting resources to better investigate the "alarming" growth of stolen tax refunds, according to a senior IRS official.
Instances of cybercrime and identity theft in New York City rose 50 percent over the past five years, while some municipal precincts are citing the violations more than any other crimes.
The number of suspicious activity reports filed on potential identity theft increased over 120 percent between 2004 and 2009, the head of the U.S. Treasury Department's financial intelligence unit said Monday.
Reports of check fraud tied to identity theft rose in 2009 even as instances of related loan and credit fraud fell, according to a study released Friday by the Identity Theft Resource Center.
As many as 85 percent of banks have implemented adequate compliance systems aimed at rooting out identity thieves and limiting the number of data breaches, according to analysts.
The Federal Trade Commission Wednesday again pushed back the enforcement deadline of a controversial rule requiring financial institutions and "creditors" to take steps to prevent identity theft-related data breaches.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has given financial institutions an additional six months to develop programs to prevent identity theft due to confusion in the industry over the scope of the agency's rules.
Congress is considering a request that would allow the Federal Trade Commission to levy fines against companies with poor controls over sensitive customer data, according to a report released Tuesday.
Financial regulatory examiners will be checking that banks are not overly relying on their existing monitoring systems to comply with new federal rules meant to curb identity theft, say consultants.
Regulation requiring banks to prevent identity theft-related data breaches could be as difficult and expensive to implement as anti-money laundering provisions and the cost of failing to comply could be even higher, say bankers and former regulators.
Charges made to fraudulent accounts in the victims' names ranged between $50 and $500,000 and, in aggregate, increased 78 percent from 2004 to 2006, according to a study by the Identity Theft Resource Center.
A report issued by San Diego, Calif.-based ID Analytics, which makes ID theft software, looked at about a dozen data breaches involving Social Security numbers and other identifying information.
A security breach at retailer TJX Cos. last year cost banks that reissued payment cards as much as $83 million, according to estimates by credit card company Visa USA. Credit card company officials say the breach exposed about 100 million credit and debit card numbers.
Final federal banking regulations for monitoring identity theft moved forward on Monday as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., one of six federal banking agencies considering the measures, approved them.
Financial institutions have been slow to adopt biometric technologies that identify people by physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, as part of their information security programs.
Banking employees can't always get standard photo IDs or signatures from clients, particularly if the person who wants to open an account or transact business is disabled or illiterate.
The request follows an April 23 government report on ID theft that recommended establishing national data protection standards for the private sector and reducing the use of Social Security numbers among government agencies.
Financial institutions, in attempting to minimize data breaches, often focus their budgets on systems meant to foil sophisticated hackers rather than guard against employee mistakes, such as losing a mobile device, and other vulnerabilities that cause most breaches.
As more financial institutions roll out mobile banking programs to extend their online services, they may be generating fresh opportunities for identity thieves, money launderers and financiers of terrorism, say privacy lawyers and data security consultants.