INDIANAPOLIS — Online purchases and banking have soared in recent years, and so has identity theft.
QuoteWizard’s analysis of Federal Trade Commission data show explosive growth in this form of cybercrime, and Indiana is among the states with the largest increases.
The study found that from 2019-2022, identity theft was double or higher in 10 states. Indiana was right behind with the 11th-highest increase at 94%.
Rob Bhatt, an analyst at QuoteWizard, said among the other Indiana findings was during the same period, “bank fraud was up 158% in Indiana, and then credit card fraud was up 122%.”
An immediate question is: why is this dramatic increase in identity theft is happening now?
Scott Shackelford, executive director of the Indiana University Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, believes it’s linked to the spike in data breaches.
“If you look at just the data breeches reported to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, more than a 100,000 Hoosiers’ personal information was compromised just last year,” said Shackelford.
Data from the Indiana Attorney General’s Office suggests the problem is not slowing down. In the first three months of this year, over 300 system breaches have been reported, potentially affecting tens of thousands of Indiana residents.
So, what do you do if you think your personal information has fallen into the wrong hands?
Shackelford recommends, “Change those passwords. You may want to think about using a password manager like Keychain on Apple products or something like LastPass or OnePass. That can help.”
There are also subscription credit monitoring services that warn consumers about unusual activities or attempts to open new credit accounts.
Another option is freezing your credit. This requires contacting the three credit rating services: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Once a person’s credit lines are frozen, access is blocked to anyone attempting to open new credit accounts. The catch is if the consumer wants to establish a new credit line, they’d have to unfreeze the accounts first.
Identity theft insurance is also available. Monthly costs typically range from $10-$25 a month.