TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cases of credit card theft have increased 31 percent over the last three years, and the number of households victimized by more than one type of identity theft has increased 37 percent in the same period, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released the Bureau’s findings in fulfillment of a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Identity Stronghold.
The national survey shows that approximately 4 million — nearly half — of all victimized households suffered the unauthorized use or attempted use of a credit card account in 2007, the last year for which the DOJ has data.
In its request for data through 2011, Identity Stronghold learned that the DOJ could provide statistics only between the years 2005 and 2007, “the most recent data,” according to the DOJ’s official Freedom of Information Act response. However, the increase in credit and debit card theft correlates with the introduction of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chipped credit and debit cards in 2005 and the subsequent increased rate of issuance. We predict any new data collected by the DOJ will reflect that the rate of credit card theft has increased at the same rate as the issuance of these new cards.
“The DOJ is behind the power-curve of keeping current data on credit card-related identity theft and financial crimes. Couple this with credit card companies misleading cardholders about the security of their personal identification, and it’s the ‘Wild West’ out there,” said Identity Stronghold CEO and founder Walt Augustinowicz.
By 2016, a projected one billion RFID-enabled credit and debit cards susceptible to electronic pickpocketing will be issued to cardholders, creating a target-rich environment for identity thieves setting their sights on consumer's back pockets.
Credit card companies have responded to widespread public concern over electronic pickpocketing, including a 2011 consumer advisory issued by Nevada’s Attorney General, by downplaying the risks, but patent documents filed by Visa in 2006 both acknowledge and detail the extent to which RFID-enabled cards are vulnerable to electronic pickpocketing.
“I understand why credit card companies downplay the risks their products pose to cardholders and the boon they present to electronic pickpockets,” said Augustinowicz, “but I’m baffled by the idea that federal law enforcement agencies can take a more than 30-percent spike in credit card information thefts as their cue to stop collecting data and making current statistics available.”
Recently, Augustinowicz trained police officers and state officials on electronic pickpocketing and other RFID-elated crimes in Ohio, with a focus on smartphone capabilities.
“Meanwhile, new smartphone technology allows electronic pickpockets to scan and steal your credit card information simply by getting their phone close to your purse or wallet,” added Augustinowicz. “I’ll be working with local law enforcement agencies throughout 2012 to provide them with information and training on RFID security, electronic pickpocketing and how to educate citizens of this growing threat.”
About Identity Stronghold
Identity Stronghold is the leading provider of RFID-blocking sleeves and badgeholders to the U.S. government and consumers, and offers a full line of consumer products, from card and badgeholders, to purses and wallets. Identity Stronghold recognized the need for privacy protection for RFID-chipped items and created a new industry in RFID-shielding protection in 2005. Identity Stronghold Secure Badgeholders® and Secure Sleeves® are listed on the GSA’s FIPS 201 Approved Products List for meeting the requirements of preventing the reading of contactless RFID chips.
Visit Identity Stronghold at: http://www.idstronghold.com/