Why online fraud is booming in the usa

Why online fraud is booming in the usa

The innocent looking housewife diana has stolen his identity. Sandy introduces the taterin, and from the opposition of the two a turbulent comedy develops, which is to start in germany under the title “voll abgezockt” at the end of march. That such a fraud in real life is no laughing matter, female ryan frary.

On 4. October 2012 frary is checking his account statements like every month when it hits him like a bolt of lightning. The bill shows an unknown charge of 1400 dollars (1080 euros), debited in the state of georgia, more than 1000 kilometers from frary's hometown of washington. “At first, i thought it was a bad joke by my bank,” says the 29-year-old. It is only when the branch informs him that the amount was withdrawn in his name that he realizes the seriousness of the situation. After a check of his online transactions, there is only one explanation: someone has seized his identity and bank account.

More and more americans are suffering the same fate as frary: according to the business organization javelin strategy, the number of people affected rose by 13 percent in 2011. According to the study, around 11.6 million US citizens have been victims of identity theft. In 2011, the damage amounted to 18 billion dollars (about 13 billion euros). Doug johnson of the american bankers association (ABA) attributes many falls to the immediate environment. “Most ID thefts happen in the back rooms of doctors' offices, among friends or even family,” says the ABA's vice president for data protection.

What's more, unlike in germany, a bank account can be opened on the internet in just five minutes in the USA. All that is needed is a social security number and the appropriate date of birth. It may be practical, but it's by no means certain. A medical secretary, for example, can get this information with just a few mouse clicks – family and friends have an easy game anyway. Most banks do not check who is actually behind the information on an account.

Privacy expert johnson also sees convenience as a problem for many cell phone users. “Most people don't protect their devices with passwords or store the access data of their apps for convenience,” he says. If you lose your smartphone, you run the risk of revealing your entire personality to a stranger.

Canita gutierrez, a teacher from texas, suffered a worse fate: a mysterious double-ganger from texas turned out to be a brazen cheater, the newspaper “kansas city business journal” reported. For years, the woman in gutierrez's name had apparently lived legally in the USA. With gutierrez's stolen ID, the mexican-born doppelganger got herself a job, a loan, food stamps and even an american driver's license.

But the data theft industry is booming, and not just in the U.S. According to a study by microsoft, two-thirds of internet users in this country have already had their own experience with dangers from the net. Many perceive an increase in potential risks. Only seven percent protected themselves and their own data with more than one purchase.

There is no guarantee of compensation for damages, even in the U.S. “The bank only pays if there is proven abuse,” johnson explains. At least frary has now been reimbursed for the missing money. But he still doesn't know how his data could have ended up in the hands of fraudsters.


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