And Summer Vacation Hasn't Even Ended Yet

In last week's Data Breach Roundup, we saw a couple of universities being breached. It isn't the first time, that there have been multiple schools breached, and if we had to guess, it won’t be the last.

One of the bigger concerns when it comes to breaches of students (and really, anyone who is young), is that thieves become able to cause long term, significant trouble for the demographic.

Usually, college is when a kid gets his/her first (and maybe second or third) credit card. However, we've found that most kids don't really understand the process of how they are approved, just that they think they have a few hundred extra dollars available.

Where it becomes tricky is when a thief takes advantage of this, and opens a concurrent line of credit. It's entirely possible the thief will actually take steps to build up the youngster's credit history, paying on time and generally doing everything a college kid should in order to build strong credit.

This can go on for years.

After a while though, and once a credit history is strong enough, thieves can make major purchases (like cars or even homes), flip their purchase for a significant dollar amount, and then simply walk away.

The "college kid" (who at this point is much older), would never even have an idea that the theft has taken place until

1- Years later
2- A collection agency calls asking them about a mortgage.

So, now more than ever, college kids needs to protect themselves. Over the coming month, we'll be providing regular tips on how they can do so, as we get ready for back-to-school season.

Posted by Mike

New Account Fraud

Credit.com covered a survey that had some scary findings: namely that roughly one of out 5 Americans has been a victim of ID theft, and that credit card fraud only comprises about 20% of ID Thefts.

We obviously can't speak to the accuracy of those numbers, but they do seem to go along with what Javelin Research and Strategy has pointed out this year; other types of fraud, specifically new account fraud, are on the rise.

So: What is new account fraud and why, as Javelin points out, is it so hard to detect?

New account fraud happens when a thief opens up a new line of credit in someone else's name. Usually, any correspondence between the credit issuer and the "account holder" goes to a different destination than the actual victim. In other words… the victim doesn't know that they aren't receiving a statement from a bank, because the victim doesn't know there's a relationship with the bank.

One way to prevent this type of fraud from becoming damaging is to regularly check your credit report. It will show you each query performed on your personal credit (after all, in order to open a line of credit, these queries must be performed).

If you see a query that you aren't aware of, that can be a clue that someone might have your personal information. (and if you're a PrivacyGuard member, this means it's time to call us to make sure everything is as it should be).

Posted by Darragh