Identity Theft & ‘PHISHING” within Indian BPO Employees

Identity theft or PHISHING is the new threat indirectly to Indian BPO; it is being promoted within BPO employees.

What is Identity Theft??

IT is a crime involving someone impersonating a victim for the purpose of financial gain or other personal gain. The victim could be an individual or a business, and the perpetrator could be one person or several individuals acting as part of a theft or fraud ring. Often, the theft of a person’s or business’s identity is used to commit other crimes as well, such as credit card fraud, submitting loan applications in another person’s name, and so on.

Impersonating someone for personal gain has been a problem for centuries, but it has become more prevalent as easily accessible information about people has become more prevalent. Whereas common targets for identity theft used to be the very rich or famous, today ordinary citizens are much more likely to be victims.

Here are a few statistics that have been accumulated in recent years by various U.S. government agencies:

  • Identity theft is a crime that happens to ordinary people, just like you and me; the average age of victims is 41.
  • The U.S. Secret Service estimated the cost of identity theft at $745 million in 1997. Since that time, identity theft has become more prevalent, with total costs estimated in the billions to victims, financial institutions, and taxpayers.
  • The number of new cases of identity theft is on the rise. This relatively new trend is the result of the Internet’s influence on easy information access.
  • Identity theft affects people with good credit or high income more often than it affects those with a poor credit history or low income.
  • Identity theft was reported to the FTC at a rate of about 3,000 calls per week, up from 2,000 the year before, according to FTC Chairman Robert Muris in April 2002 (
  • Identity theft costs victims an average of 175+ hours and $1,000 in outof-pocket expenses to clear their names, according to The Identity Theft Resource Center (

For the sake of clarity, here are a few examples of actions that constitute identity theft:

  • having your wallet stolen is not identity theft. However, if your wallet is Stolen and, subsequently, the thief uses your driver’s license and credit card to make a purchase, the crime becomes identity theft.
  • Losing your ATM card does not constitute identity theft. However, identity theft occurs if you lose your ATM card and someone finds it and then obtains your PIN (personal identification number) to withdraw money from your bank account or uses your ATM card in some other way for financial gain.
  • Having your cell phone stolen is not identity theft unless the thief makes calls using your phone or uses the data stored on your phone in some way in an effort to impersonate you.

Why Do Hackers (Phishers) They Do It?

Identity thieves might want to impersonate someone else for a couple of reasons. In one form of the crime, an opportunistic thief obtains several pieces of information about a victim and uses the information to obtain goods or services for free, for a short period of time. For instance, the thief opens a credit card account using your Social Security Number, name, and address, and then the thief makes several purchases.

By the time you receive the unfamiliar billing statement, the thief has stopped using the new stolen account, to avoid being caught. This type of thief typically obtains one or two credit cards, a Social Security Number, or a driver’s license, i.e., to use in committing the crime.

Another form of identity theft involves someone with the goal of long-term Impersonation. For instance, someone opens a bank account in your name and then has the statements sent to his own location instead of yours. Another example of this type of crime involves someone obtaining employment or government benefits by using a stolen Social Security Number. New accounts are opened using the thief’s address, and the accounts are used for a long period of time.

In extreme cases, a thief might maintain the alternate identity for months or years, in an effort to hide their own identity. If you’re a victim of this type of crime, you might not discover it until the next time you view your credit report, are denied a loan due to bad credit, or observe inaccurate employment data on your Social Security records.

Amit Nayak
ITESGrads India

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