Protecting What Matters Most eBook Addresses the Ever-Changing Digital Environment and Details How Individuals, Families, and Businesses Can Respond to Evolving Threats
BOSTON, September 22, 2021–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In the fifth anniversary edition of its annual educational eBook, Protecting What Matters Most, Sontiq, the leader in Intelligent Identity Security (IIS), combined research from more than 60 independent resources with its own expert analysis to assess the material impact COVID-19 has had on the cyber threat landscape. According to the newly published eBook, the pandemic has heightened cyber threats across every aspect of American life, with criminals brazenly attacking business, education, healthcare, public safety and retail organizations.
“I am particularly proud of the work we do through Protecting What Matters Most because it amplifies our company mission of educating and equipping consumers and businesses with resources to protect all aspects of their identity – and ensures the information is available to everyone,” said Sontiq President and CEO Brian J. Longe. “Today’s cybercriminals are constantly adapting and planning for tomorrow’s attacks, and the public needs help to meet this shifting learning curve. This knowledge shouldn’t be exclusive, and that’s why Protecting What Matters Most is a free resource, available to anyone. Consumers and businesses want to know how to mitigate future fraud risk.”
Protecting What Matters Most is produced annually to provide the public with the latest information around digital safety, which has now expanded far beyond the more traditional payment fraud to include child identity theft and cyberbullying. In addition to offering analysis and predictions of the cyber threat landscape, Protecting What Matters Most provides consumers and businesses action steps to take now to mitigate future fraud. The fifth anniversary report includes additional insights from expert industry partners: Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA).
Since the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020, identity theft has become not only more frequent, but also more impactful. According to data released in 2021 by the ITRC, 40% of identity theft victims report being unable to pay their monthly bills. Just over 20% say they lost more than $20,000 to identity criminals.
Said ITRC President & CEO Eva Velasquez in the eBook’s foreword, “Fraudsters continue to exploit the health crisis, creating a ‘scamdemic.’” She went on to say that “Helping consumers navigate this complex space and learn how to protect themselves takes a dedicated commitment from industry stakeholders. For the last five years, Sontiq has demonstrated this commitment by providing their Protecting What Matters Most e-book as a free resource to anyone who wants it.”
Protecting What Matters Most assesses where identity theft criminals may perceive the most opportunity in the next five years, making the following predictions.
New Account Fraud Will Explode. Fraudsters who cut their teeth on government benefits fraud during the pandemic (e.g., state unemployment and PPP) are in a good position to transfer their skills to other targets, like financial institutions, credit card issuers and lenders.
Fraudsters Will Get Jobs, Sort Of. Employment impersonation fraud – where criminals pose as legitimate applicants – will take off as more employers maintain a remote workforce. Fraudulent “employees” can steal company secrets, compromise financial accounts and deliver ransomware.
Your Next Vacation May Take You for a Ride. These scams will become a major brand headache for travel and technology companies and the consumers fooled by them. According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly $80 million in losses have been reported by consumers in vacation and travel scams since January 2020.
Mule Colts. Yes, Mule Colts. Banking for kids will become increasingly common, making them targets for fraudsters looking for unwitting partners. These fraudsters solicit bank account holders to help move stolen funds under false pretenses – turning them into money mules – for a small piece of the action.
Digital Driver’s Licenses Won’t Be a Panacea. State-issued identity cards (e.g., driver’s licenses) are going digital, encouraging consumers to store and present their ID on mobile phones. Banks and merchants will take a long while to accept these new digital IDs the “right way,” opening the door for abuse. And centralized databases of digital ID data will make enticing breach targets.
Sontiq (pronounced Son-tick) is an Intelligent Identity Security company arming businesses and consumers with award-winning products and services built to protect what matters most. Sontiq’s brands, IdentityForce, Cyberscout and EZShield provide a full range of identity and cyber monitoring solutions, best-in-class restoration, and response products and services. Sontiq’s products are used by an ever-growing community and empower millions of customers and organizations to be less vulnerable to the financial and emotional consequences of identity theft and cybercrimes. Sontiq and its brands have an outstanding track record for delivering high-touch support and fraud remediation services, demonstrated through its 99% customer satisfaction ratings. Sontiq is a portfolio company of the Wicks Group. Learn more at www.sontiq.com or engage with us on Twitter, Facebook,LinkedIn or YouTube.