The Many Data Breaches Exposing You to Identity Fraud
Did you know your privacy and identity information could be at risk because there were nearly 100 data breaches in 2020 and almost 50 as of mid-September this year? These breaches have involved millions of individuals and the fraudsters use this information to scam both merchants and customers. Among other things, they use it to steal your identity and use it to access your credit card information or create new accounts with your identity. They use it to buy merchandise, then pay with newly created credit card accounts or your compromised account, and later the merchant suffers a chargeback for an unauthorized purchase. Or they may use your personal information to access your computer or phone, post malware, set up ransomware attacks, and more.
If you haven’t already been affected, you probably will because there have been so many data breaches affecting billions of users. For example, some of the biggest breaches, according to an annual report by Eugene Bekker for Identity Force, part of Sontig, have included:
- An exposure on January 11, 2021 of at least 214 social media users from Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, due to a data leak from an unsecured database from the Chinese social media management company, Socialarks
- The exposure on January 20, 2021 of over 183 million user records after a hacker attack on the stock photo company, 123RF. Another 1.9 million user records were obtained from a hack on a database belonging to Pixir.
- The exposure on January 28, 2021 of the account records of 4.9 million customers of U.S. Cellular, the fourth largest wireless carrier in the U.S.
- An attack on February 18, 2021 on the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which exposed drivers’ personal information from the last 20 months of California vehicle registration records.
- The exposure on April 3, 2021 of the personal data of 533 million Facebook users from 106 countries. The hackers posted this information for free on a hacking forum, and the posting revealed users’ phone numbers, full names, location, email addresses, and biographical information.
- The exposure on April 6, 2021 of the user profiles of over 500 million LinkedIn users, which were posted on the Dark Web. The database included names, the LinkedIn account IDs, email addresses, phone numbers, social media profiles, professional titles and more.
These breaches are only six of the nearly 50 breaches through mid-September 2021. Want to know more? I’ll post some of these other major breaches in a future post. Want to protect your own identity information, so it isn’t misused or you don’t get scammed? I’ll provide some tips in a future post.
The author is internationally published author and film producer, Gini Graham Scott, PhD, who has published over 200 books, 50 for traditional publishers and 150 for her own company Changemakers Publishing, specializing in books on self-help, popular business, and social issues. She is the author of The Big Con: Scams Targeting Writers, the Victims, and How to Avoid Becoming a Victim, and she is working on a new book on different types of scams: I Was Scammed. Other recent books include: What Type of Dog Are You? and The New American Middle Ages, published by Waterside Productions. She has written and executive produced 14 feature films and documentaries, featured on the www.changemakersproductionsfilms.com website. She also writes books and scripts for clients. Her website for writing is at www.changemakerspublishingandwriting.com.
For more information or to set up an interview, contact:
Executive Assistant to Gini Graham Scott
Changemakers Publishing and Writing
Lafayette, CA 94549 . (925) 385–0608