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With so much “hackable” digital information, Identity Theft has become the third certainty in life, besides death and taxes.

Let us look at some facts:

  • The IRS stopped 19 million suspicious tax returns in 2015, and stopped more than $63 billion in fraudulent refund cases.
  • Every 2 seconds one person fall victim to identity theft.
  • A recent report suggested that it takes just 12 days for the account information of 1,500 employees to 5 different continents and about 205 days for corporation to detect the breach.

Ripple effect of Identity theft on banking sector

Installing and maintaining firewall is one of the most archaic form of network security. SAP’s Director of Security product management Gerlinde Zibulski calls it “perimeter security”. She says “It’s like a medieval concept. Everybody outside is evil and everybody inside is good.” It’s not. It has been observed that most of the times data breach occurs because of an inside job.Zibulski warns that because of unencrypted communication banks are basically sending credit card passwords and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in clear text over the wire. And it is a child’s play for hackers to grab and use this information. Small data breaches may look to be minor on the surface but this data is cross-referenced and compiled to create a detailed and more useful profile of an individual. Such data is sold extensively in the black market and goes by the term (Fullz).The current mandatory Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a step forward to improve the old “inviting” IT security standards. However it has faced criticism for its inability to protect against data breaches. In fact the cases of data breaches have increased significantly after the mandate of compliance.

How to Minimize the Ripple Effect of Identity Theft on Banking

SAP’s HANA based fraud management solutions are creating a benchmark in digital banking by making use of data science to detect any suspicious activity. Currently more than 14,000 banks in about 140 countries run on SAP architecture. The application is employed in retail banks, commercial banks, capital market firms and even major central banks, covering the front middle and back office process. Coupling SAP’s fraud management system with a personal Identity Theft protection service like Lifelock, the odds of identity theft can be reduced to a bare minimum. Additionally adopt the following precautions to prevent your Identity from being stolen:

  • Keeping your Personal information, Personal. Secure your Social Security Number (SSN). Only give out such details when absolutely necessary keeping proof of such exchange.
  • When using ATM machines, watch out for “shoulder surfers”. Shield the keypad when typing PIN number and passwords.
  • Checking credit rating and purchase history regularly. Look out for signs of minor irregularities. Most of the deceptive purchases amount to less than $100.
  • Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements and expired cards to prevent leakage to “dumpster divers”.
  • Notify relevant authorities:
  • Federal Trade Commission for general ID theft
  • Long-term care Ombudsman of your state if theft occurred due to a long term stay in a nursing home or care facility.
  • Your health insurance company’s fraud dept. or Medicare’s fraud office.
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in case of Tax Identity Theft.

Financial services like Banking and Capital Markets have been an integral part of human civilization for a long time. Despite SAP’s robust security architecture, pirates have been successful in stealing colossal amount of data in the recent past, to an extent of 1 billion records per year!

Take care, be aware.

Prevent your identity, prevent yourself.

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