The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Developments in privacy law and writings of a Canadian privacy lawyer, containing information related to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA) and other Canadian and international laws.

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The author of this blog, David T.S. Fraser, is a Canadian privacy lawyer who practices with the firm of McInnes Cooper. He is the author of the Physicians' Privacy Manual. He has a national and international practice advising corporations and individuals on matters related to Canadian privacy laws.

For full contact information and a brief bio, please see David's profile.

Please note that I am only able to provide legal advice to clients. I am not able to provide free legal advice. Any unsolicited information sent to David Fraser cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

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The views expressed herein are solely the author's and should not be attributed to his employer or clients. Any postings on legal issues are provided as a public service, and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to. Nothing herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

This web site is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and David T.S. Fraser. If you are seeking specific advice related to Canadian privacy law or PIPEDA, contact the author, David T.S. Fraser.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Identity theft? Culprit is likely a friend or relative 

According to a study recently reported in the Arizona Republic, a significant portion of "identity" fraud is committed by people known to the victims and most fraudsters who are not known to the victim get their information using low-tech means:

Identity theft? Culprit is likely a friend or relative:

"...According to one recent study, by Javelin Strategy & Research, a consulting firm in Pleasanton, Calif., in 26 percent of all cases the fraud victims knew the person who had misused their personal information. (Typically it was a family member, friend or neighbor, or in-home employee.) In addition, as much as 50 percent of debit-card fraud occurs when a card is snagged by a family member or friend who knows the card's personal-identification number, according to a recent report from TowerGroup, a unit of MasterCard International Inc.

The term 'identity theft' is often used loosely to describe a wide array of crimes. But true identity theft occurs when someone uses stolen information to create a new form of identity, such as opening a new credit-card account under the victim's name. That differs significantly from other kinds of bank fraud, such as when a criminal uses a stolen ATM card to get cash out of a teller machine.

Whether it's full-blown ID theft or small-scale fraud, even in cases where the criminal is a stranger, it's almost never a case of sophisticated computer hacking. Although 75 percent of all households use the Internet and 65 percent of those do some online banking, 'most criminals obtain personal information through traditional rather than electronic channels,' according to the Javelin study. Some 29 percent of victims surveyed said their personal information was obtained through a lost or stolen wallet, checkbook or credit card.

According to the study, the bulk of the rest were attributed to friends and relatives, corrupt employees, stolen mail, Dumpster-diving, and computer spyware. Computer viruses or hackers accounted for only 2.2 percent of incidents. While there has been a significant increase in the number of electronic attempts at identity theft, "the ones that are working are the traditional ones," said James Van Dyke, Javelin's president...."

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