In Washington, D.C., lawmakers are facing a call to reduce the quickly growing quantity of cases of identity theft caused by data breaches. Cases of identity theft have been growing every year and regularly breaking records, and according to some lawmakers, the current systems of protecting data simply do not provide the security to protect consumers.
This year the U.S. is near breaking the all-time record for data breaches again, and thieves are only becoming more sophisticated. According to a report presented to the United States Senate Committee hearing, the total number of data breaches occurring up to September 30th of 2021 has managed to meet the number of cases in the entire year of 2020 and exceed it by 17%. Specifically, in the entire year of 2020, there were 1,108 data breaches, but in the current year up to September 30th, there were already 1,291.
Worse, this trend is only quickly growing and exacerbated by issues such as unsecured cloud databases. In the first two quarters of the year combined, 121 million individuals had their data compromised; however, in the third quarter of the year alone, this number was already met and exceeded with 160 million.
This has led to an incredible amount of identity theft that threatens consumers, and another rising issue has been brought to attention by the pandemic. Unemployment identity theft skyrocketed throughout the pandemic as scammers used other individuals’ information to register for and collect unemployment benefits.
According to many activists for increased standards for data security, the government simply does not regulate security standards or provide for remedies in case of violations. Right now, technologically sophisticated cybercriminals appear to always be at least one step ahead of the current data protection methods.
In response, the proposed legislation is attempting to create tighter requirements and increased consequences for violations. The reality is, though, that in the modern-day, all of a consumer’s data is out there on the web somewhere. This makes it vulnerable to scammers and thieves who can use the data or sell it to others to commit identity fraud.
As always, the best way for individuals to protect themselves is to pay attention and be ready to take action. One of the most important ways to do this is to regularly perform checks on themselves to see if any unauthorized activity has taken place. This can allow you to respond quickly, minimize damage, and help speed the process of recovery.