In 2007 and 2008 Arizona led the country in ID thefts reported in its borders. In 2007 there were over 8500 cases reported in Arizona. Again this year, it looks like Arizona will once again claim this honor.
Cases of Identity Theft are broken down into specific categories; these help separate out the huge international ID theft rings, who are stealing mass amount of personal data, through various websites, such as the theft at Sony reported a few months ago. These thefts are perpetrated by highly qualified and trained hackers, who then sell the data for a profit.
Then there are the cases of the swiped and cloned gangs, these are usually local groups or conspiracies that involved people who work in fields where they have access to a large number of credit card users, such as retail stores, or nightclubs. These groups, pay a commission to these people to swipe the card in a special handheld swiper that allows the computer hacker to then access the data on the magnetic strip on your credit card and they are able to clone these cards with different names on printed on the front of the card as the only thing the computer reads is the data on the magnetic strip. Remember cloning, and always keep an eye on your credit card. In the UK it is now against the law for servers to take your card, they must come to you with a handheld wireless processor and swipe your card in your presences and return it to you immediately.
The last type of theft is the less sophisticated, it uses a computer person who is good with computer design work, to forge documents, such as a driver's license, library card, and to make credit cards, they either buy or scam someone for their personal information and then begin applying for store credit cards in the name of the stolen identity and eventually start applying for credit cards or even bank loans and mortgages in the name of the unknowing person. These people e do cross state lines, and some are organized international rings, but most of these are localized within a crime area or zone, and stay within a small group of people. A lot of the data these groups use are obtained by theft, car break-ins, robberies and muggings.
Arizona unfortunately is home to all three and has an ever growing number of the less sophisticated methods that involve physical violence and home invasions.
Due to the problem with illegal aliens, crime has been escalating at an uncontrollable rate in Arizona and credit card and ID theft seem to magnify with drug related crimes, most of the petty crimes, such was the theft of a pocketbook or wallet are done for quick easy drug money. These thieves sell the IDs for a few bucks to purchase drugs and the IDs start moving up the chain.
With the adoption of chip and pin, this will allow for more security and will invalidate most of the credit card cloning. Chip and pin, is similar to the ATM PIN number system, credit card users would have to input a PIN number at the register, thus eliminating the use of stolen and cloned cards. The new chips that will be embedded in the cards will replace the magnetic strip and will involve a lot more technology and the cost of duplicating will be too high for most ID theft users.
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Barry Norman is a contributor to and blogger at First Credit. Firstcredit.net offers free information that can help consumers with ID Theft and Credit Monitoring.
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