Written by Alex Bach
Unfortunately we live in an era where cases of annual lists of identity theft can run alongside lists of annual best movies, music and shows of the past year. And like those lists, this list will show us what we’ve possibly overlooked, and, hopefully, what to keep our eyes out for in the coming year. Here are some of the biggest cases of identity theft in 2013 .
Identity theft is a widespread crime and many people aren’t even aware they’ve been targeted. Not sure if your identity theft has been stolen? Here are some ways to find out if your accounts have been compromised.
Just in time for this list, Target’s massive hit came at the height of the year’s shopping season. Breaking several weeks after Black Friday, it was reported that Target’s security was breached and the information from no less than 40 million customers’s credit and debit cards was compromised.
The thieves have begun selling the stolen card information on black markets, some of which come with the card’s PIN number. The breach is the second largest in US history; the first being that of TJX Cos. whose breach affected 45 million accounts.
One of the three big credit report agencies in the US had a major gaff in 2013. The credit bureau purchased a smaller company, Court Ventures, that held consumer information.
Unbeknownst to Experian (hopefully) Court Ventures routinely sold off that information to illegal third parties. The lesson here is that even major companies that deal with identity fraud can still get hit.
Not all identity theft scams are out for your cash. This scam, operating out of Michigan, used stolen identities to purchase cell phones from Apple, Verizon, Radioshack and other stores–sometimes taking out additional phones on people’s accounts–and then selling those phones to iBuy, who would then disperse those phones into some underground market.
According to Forbes, the fraudulent company operating the scam reportedly had $6.9 million dollars into their account.
These are just some of the bigger cases of identity theft reported in 2013. A cursory look over the IRS’s reports of prosecuted identity theft in 2013 reveal hundreds of scams. Identity theft is a very real crime, an epidemic, and unless people become more aware and cautious, one that can spread easily.