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Data breach reports down for first half of 2020; other scam, fraud reports on the rise

Published: Jul. 19, 2020 at 11:37 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - There’s been a significant drop in data breaches this year, and while that might sound like a positive trend, identity thieves are still work, and they’re playing off the pandemic.

While scams are up due to COVID-19, the number of reported data breaches are down, despite people working from home, where cyber-security may not be as strong.

According to a new report from the national non-profit “Identity Theft Resource Center”, the number of data breaches has dropped by nearly a third in the first half of 2020.

So far this year, there have been 540 data breaches, which impacted 163 million people.

Last year, there were 811 data breaches, and in 2018, there were more than 700 reported.

Even with this trend, the CEO of the ID Theft Resource Center says this doesn’t mean hackers are taking a break.

“They’re putting their efforts into a different type of cyber attack, it’s using the data all of the unemployment identity theft that’s been happening at the state level. Those are old static credentials that have been captured over the years. So rather than putting their efforts into hacking into new systems and collecting new data, they’re putting their efforts into currently monetizing that data in perpetrating those scams and other types of hacks,” says Eva Velasquez, the CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center.

163 million people have been impacted so far in this year’s data breaches - a 66% drop.

“Yes, data breaches are down, but identity theft, scams and fraud aren’t down. They’re up, they’re skyrocketing. So, it’s really important for people to realize this isn’t a situation where you can look at this and say, ‘Oh, this is good news, it means I can let my guard down', it’s really the opposite of that,” says Velasquez.

The Identity Theft Resource Center says one trend they’re seeing is hackers taking advantage of stores closing - in person shopping moving to online business.

Claire’s, the popular jewelry store, and its sister company Icing were hit during the pandemic.

The ITRC says anyone who made an online purchase between April 25th and June 13th should cancel their card, and change your username and password on your Claire’s or Icing account.

The Identity Theft Resource Center offers free help if you’ve been a victim or have a question.

“The demand for our services has increased exponentially and that is a good thing, it means that people are taking time to double check. It’s rewarding for us, because it means people know they can reach out to us, and they aren’t feeling the shame and embarrassment that a lot of folks feel when they can’t figure these things out on their own,” says Velasquez.

Click here to learn how to contact the Identity theft Resource Center.

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