Identity theft 101 and beyond
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Identity Theft 101 and Beyond. Bryan Stanwood, CPCU, ARM Enumclaw Insurance Group. Statistics. Nationally, in 2004, 1 in 33 households had experienced some type of identity theft within the last six months (3.6M households) Costs US consumers roughly $53 billion a year

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Identity Theft 101 and Beyond

Bryan Stanwood, CPCU, ARM

Enumclaw Insurance Group

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  • Nationally, in 2004, 1 in 33 households had experienced some type of identity theft within the last six months (3.6M households)

  • Costs US consumers roughly $53 billion a year

  • Businesses typically see a loss averaging $4,800 per victim

  • Washington ranked #8 in 2004, with 5,600 residents identified as victims, an increase of over 20% since 2003

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How Bad is it?

  •, a great resource and provider of a chronology of data breaches found:

    • 223,738,446 file breaches in the US alone from 2005 through April 14, 2008

    • There have been 96 separate corporate or public breaches reported in 2008, with individual records in the 10s of millions

    • Many are happening in colleges and government offices/websites—ideas why?

  • WA Attorney General website is also a great tool

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What is Identity Theft?

  • Identity theft is a crime where an imposter obtains key personal information from another for the purpose of using that information for personal gain

  • Information stolen can encompass:

    • Drivers license numbers

    • Social Security Numbers

    • Personal Identification Numbers

    • Credit Card, Bank Account Numbers

    • Passwords

    • Mother’s Maiden Name

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Categories of Identity Theft

  • True Name

    • Use information to open new accounts

      • Credit card, cell phone, checking accounts

  • Account Takeover

    • Use information to take over existing accounts

      • Change address of the account

      • Start spending

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How Does It Happen?

  • Phishing

  • Dumpster Diving

  • Shoulder Surfing

  • Company Hacking and Targeting

  • Pickpockets

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  • Looks legitimate, but is not

  • Generally emails asking for personal, sensitive information from what appears to be a known business

  • Asked to enter data electronically, although sometimes via phone as well

  • PayPal, Banks, EBay, etc. are very common

  • Anti-Spamming legislation is in place and offenders are being sued and put in jail—however, prevention is the best cure

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Dumpster Diving

  • Searching for information carelessly discarded that can be used to create or access accounts

  • The practice of Dumpster diving is also known variously as urban foraging, binning, alley surfing, Curbing, D-mart, Dumpstering, garbaging, garbage picking, garbage gleaning, skip-raiding, skip diving, skipping, skip-weaseling, tatting, skally-wagging or trashing

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Shoulder Surfing

  • Criminals can literally look over shoulders, or use cheap closed circuit TV cameras hidden in areas to recover data. Common areas of concern are when consumers:

    • fill out a form

    • enter their PIN at an automated teller machine or a POS Terminal

    • use a calling card at a public pay phone

    • enter passwords at a cybercafe, public and university libraries, or airport kiosks.

    • enter a digit code for a rented locker in a public place such as a swimming pool or airport

    • Red Box recently

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Company Hacking and Targeting

  • Black hat hacker gets into secured company systems;

  • OR, computer laptops are targeted for theft

    What they want?!

    • Relevant personal information, such as Social Security Numbers, Drivers License Numbers, Bank Account Numbers, Credit Card Numbers, PINs, Financial Account access

    • Hacker than uses or sells this information worldwide

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  • Second oldest profession?

  • Typically distraction is the key to getting away with it

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General Prevention Habits

  • Do not give your Social Security number, mother's maiden name or account numbers to strangers who contact you, especially by phone, Internet or mail.

  • Put passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts.

  • Do not carry PIN numbers, birth certificates, Social Security cards or passports unless absolutely necessary.

  • Review your credit card and other credit statements each month and make sure you know exactly what you're being billed

  • Guard your mail from theft.

  • Tear up or shred documents containing personal information before throwing them away.

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General Prevention Habits

  • Eliminate credit cards you rarely or never use

  • Contact your card issuer to find out if any of your cardholder information can be given to partners or affiliates (third parties) of the card issuer

  • Contact the three major credit bureaus and ask to "Opt Out“ of pre-approved credit card offers

  • Remove your name from marketer's unsolicited mailing and calling lists

  • Be cautious about "trial memberships”

  • Check your credit report to make sure it is accurate

    (Provided by the WA Office of the Attorney General)

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Specific Prevention—Phishing

  • When asked to verify any information, contact company directly to legitimize

  • Look for typos or syntax problems

  • Most companies will use members usernames vs. general introductions

  • Type in known website address vs. using hyperlinks

  • Do not give any information without verification!

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Specific Prevention - Other

  • Dumpster Diving

    • Shred, shred, shred ANYTHING with personal information

  • Shoulder Surfing

    • Block all entering of PINs, completion of forms or other privacy related actions from prying eyes

    • Be aware of people around you—vigilance

  • Pickpockets

    • Secure valuables in front pockets or money belts

    • Be constantly aware; do not get distracted

    • Minimize ostentatious displays

    • Look confident, not lost

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What if You are a Victim? (

  • Notify credit bureaus, establish fraud alerts, security freezes, monitor reports

  • Report the crime to police

  • If new accounts are opened, immediately contact companies and fill out fraud paperwork

    • Once resolved, get letter from company that account is closed and debts discharged

  • If existing accounts, contact immediately, in writing, request replacement card with new numbers

  • Checks stolen? Report them to bank, place stop payments, complete fraud affidavits, close accounts and open new ones

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What if You are a Victim?

  • Debit cards—report immediately, fraud affidavit, get new cards with new passwords

  • Monitor, monitor, monitor all accounts and notify immediately of any suspicious charges

  • Contact DMV to see if anyone has ordered a license with your name or number

  • Phone service is often part of identity theft—contact the company to determine appropriate steps

  • Get involved in legal process if person is caught



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Coverage Options - ISO

  • In essence, $15,000 for coverage of expenses incurred due to Identity Theft after a $250 deductible

  • What is covered?

    • Costs for notarized fraud documentation or whatever is required

    • Costs for certified mailings

    • Costs for time away from work, up to $200 a day and maximum of $5,000

    • Loan application fees

    • Reasonable attorneys’ fees

    • Charges for long distance phone calls

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Coverage Options – Company Limits

  • More companies are offering internal limits

  • Companies are contracting with companies to assist in this exposure (Identity Theft 911; LifeLock)

    • Either charge a premium or it is free

  • The biggest difference between these companies and the ISO endorsement?

    • Assist with the entire process of re-establishing credit vs. just reimbursing for expenses

    • Advocates assigned to help or handle the process

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Ideas for Customers

  • Put ideas here under your logo and provide to new customers, develop newsletters to include for existing customers

  • Have a shredding party!

  • Run a contest (get a company to help pay for it) for referrals to get a nice shredder

  • Become a subject matter expert and sell more policies by making Identity Theft ‘POP’ for customers

  • Sell companies on adding endorsements or providing coverage for advocacy vs. expenses