Feature Article
Mark Pribish
Don't let "Breach Fatigue" Risk Your Identity When Data Breach Events Occur!
By Mark Pribish
Vice President and ID Theft Practice Leader

Based on my over 20 years of ID Theft and Data breach experience, I have concluded that breach fatigue (see definition here) has relegated most data breach news events from front page headlines to the back pages, reflecting a lesser news value and a place of insignificance.

For example, U.S. prosecutors charged six foreign nationals this week (see article here) with credit and debit card hacking thefts that cost U.S. and European companies more than $300 million in payment card losses resulting in the biggest cyber fraud case filed in U.S. history.

In my opinion and because of breach fatigue, most people affected by this data breach event will not understand and/or appreciate the personal/consumer risks and economic impact - because it is just another headline that is soon to be forgotten in a long line of never ending data breach events in the news.

Unfortunately, this out-of-sight and out-of-mind mentality related to ID Theft and data breaches are difficult to understand and visualize - until now, as a London based website called Information is Beautiful founded by David McCandless (a London-based data journalist and information designer).

McCandless and Information is Beautiful created this visual data breach link (please see here) which is a new interactive graphic that highlights the biggest data breaches over the last 10 years.

Infomational Graphic
Click the image above to visit the website and see the full graphic

This interactive graphic/link offers a "cool factor" and includes filters for the type, sensitivity and breach by industry group.

I believe this new form of visual learning on data breach events will help consumers (along with the organizations affected by a data breach) have a greater understanding and clarity by visualizing ID Theft and data breach information including facts, data, issues, statistics, and questions.

This visual data breach tool (please see above) can also help consumers and organizations understand the unique connections, patterns and personal/economic impact of a specific data breach event by providing the number of victims involved, as well as a clickable brief synopsis of the event.

For those individuals who want to dig deeper into these data breaches they will find links to the original news stories such as how usernames and emails - which are often ignored by consumers/affected individuals when lost or stolen - can be used by hackers in scams.

To conclude, DO NOT let breach fatigue impact your understanding or influence your underestimating the next ID Theft and data breach news report that might affect you or a family member.


To learn more about these threats and how to protect yourself and your family from Identity Theft, you can read my past newsletters at the Merchants Identity Theft Educational Website at www.idtheftedu.com.

Scam Central

Robocalls Raiding Restful Residents

It is hard to find anyone who actually enjoys receiving calls from telemarketers. Having your leisure time disrupted by someone trying to sell a subscription to a magazine, offering to repair your windshield, or sell a home warranty can quickly sour a pleasant and peaceful evening after a hard day of work. What can make the call even more frustrating is when there isn't a real person on the other end of the phone. Automated phone dialers, or "robocalls" as they are better known, have been around for quite a while. However, identity thieves and scammers are now using robocalls to steal more than just your peaceful moments.

How It Works:

According to a recent post at the FTC (see the article here), you may receive a phone call from an automated "robocall" machine trying to push a medical alert system. During the course of the call, you will be asked to push certain buttons to speak with a live operator for more information. When you do press that button, the helpful person on the other end of the phone seems more interested in getting your bank account or credit card information than anything else. If there is a supposed product involved, a shipping address may also be called for. However, while you will have that money taken out of your account, you will not receive any product.

The tactics and fake products may vary from call to call, but the goal of the caller is always the same, and that is to get your Personal Identifiable Information (PII). Providing that valuable information will greatly increase your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft.

Your Defense:

Not all telemarketers are evil, or at least may not have evil intentions. While their calls may interrupt your leisure time, legitimate telemarketers are only trying to make a living and are at least offering real products and services. However, that does not mean you need to purchase anything from them.

The great thing about robocalls is that you do not have to feel bad about letting someone on the other end of the phone down. When you receive a robocall, simply hang up. A computer system really does not care if you hang up, as it has no feelings. If you should choose to listen to a robocall in its entirety, do not press any buttons or engage in conversation with a live operator. Doing so will only increase the odds of your being taken by a scam. The quicker you can end the call, the better off you will be.

If you believe your identity has been stolen, call 866.SMART68 today.