[Dave Birch] Well, this is good news.  The losses associated with US ID theft has gone down 12% in recent months.  Even so, and bearing in mind that banks give customers their money back (generally), as George Tubin from TowerGroup notes, "Perception is very important… We’ve already seen the rise of financial fraud via e-mail pushing people back to using physical channels instead of Internet channels".   This, it seems to me, will have knock-on effects for a long time to come.  If public trust in online banking is undermined, it will be that much harder to encourage public trust in e-government, e-health and e-everything else.  Hence business and government have a legitimate interest in tackling this issue even if the financial losses are not keeping them awake at night.

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Javelin’s detailed study also found that the average identity theft fraud fell 9 percent to $5,720 from $6,278, while the median — where half were larger and half were smaller — held steady at $750.  They reckon that 8.4 million adult Americans, or one in 27, learned last year that criminals committed fraud with personal data such as credit card or Social Security numbers. That’s down from 8.9 million in 2005 and 10.1 million in 2003.  Consumers on average spent $535 to clear up a fraud, though more than half spent nothing, the study said. Many businesses excuse customers from liability for certain frauds.  So overall, you would have to say, identity theft is bad, but is being contained.

But what exactly is this "identity theft" being discussed?  Is it credit card fraud?  Card-not-present fraud?  Account takeover?  This is the fastest growing area (up 64% in 2006) in the UK, presumably because of the vast increase in phishing.  I’m not sure which other UK figures to use to make a comparison.  Not online banking fraud, presumably, since losses from that went up 55% according to the most recent figures.  The pressure for 2FA is still there as far as I can see.

My opinions are my own (I think) and are presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public.
[posted with ecto]

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