Misuse of PII contributes to a range of losses, such as financial, reputational, and medical.
- [Narrator] Misuse of PII contributes to a range of losses that effect how an individual can participate or benefit from financial, employment, social, medical, and other activities. Stolen PII can also be used for criminal activities and to misdirect law enforcement investigations. In can even be used to resurrect the dead so they can vote. Identity theft is the top reason for consumer complaints, recorded by the US Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, since the year 2000.
It costs US consumers billions of dollars. In 2014, for example, identity theft affected 17.6 million US residents, over the age of 16. The US Department of Justice, estimated total financial losses of $15.4 billion. Identity theft makes possible fraudulent financial, Medicare, and other transactions. In 2013, there was one new identity fraud victim every two seconds in the US. The US citizens are not the only ones who fall victim to identity theft.
Globally identity theft is on the rise. Individual countries track their records. Identity theft is often involved in other unlawful activity. In Australia, for example, identity crime has been recognized as a key enabler of serious and organized crime. The cost of the latter is estimated as $15 billion annually, according to the Australian Crime Commission. One of the challenges in preventing PII misuse, is that we have little understanding of who has access to our PII.
George Orwell panted a picture in his book 1984 of Big Government as a Big Brother, who saw everything we did and was going to tattle on us. US government, for example, creates key elements of an individuals PII, including Social Security number and Passport number. Our state governments create another key element used for voting, commercial transactions, and both car and apartment leasing, a drivers license. We often are required to give private organizations, retail stores, utility companies, mortgage loan officers, access to this information.
That surveys show less consumer care and concern about big business than about big government, as always seem strange to me. Both big government and big business have experiences large data breaches, that have made the PII of millions of individuals available to those who would then use it to commit identity fraud. In 2015 alone, more than 169 million personal US records were exposed in the 781 breaches that were actually publicized.
The industry's sectors reporting the breaches were financial, business, education, government and medical. It is likely that other smaller breaches, went unnoticed and unrecorded. In this lesson, we learned statistics about the annual costs of identity theft crime in the US and Australia. We also learned about the number of US PII records revealed in 2015. The availability of stolen PII is an essential enabler for identity theft and other serious crime.
Next, we will discuss how PII differs from public directory information.
This course was created and produced by Mentor Source, Inc. We are pleased to host this training in our library.
- What is PII?
- Formal and informal capture
- Why is PII protected?
- Legal and regulatory influences
- High-profile PII breach cases: Medical, financial, and educational
- Global differences in PII use
- Protecting PII as an individual
- Best practices for organizations to protect PII