By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Identity theft fraud is a global concern, toping the United State’s FTC (Federal Trade Commission) ranking of consumer complaints for fifteen years running. In Brazil it is no different, and according to financial firm Serasa Experian, reports of identity theft reached 162,854 in April, an increase of four percent compared to the same month last year.
The number represents an attempt of identity theft fraud every 15.9 seconds in the country. In this type of crime, personal data is used by criminals to execute business under misrepresentation, or obtain credit with the intention of not paying.
According to the report, the annual increase in attempts of fraud against consumers shows that fraudsters are stepping up their actions. “The popularization of the Internet is one of the factors contributing to the increasing number of fraud attempts.”
The report continues, “Enrollment in inauthentic e-commerce sites, false promotions that require personal information in addition to the request for memberships to fictitious campaigns or with strong appeal on social networks are the gateway to the fraudster get data from their next victims.”
In April this year, Serasa registered 68,742 complaints, of which 42.2 percent referred to attempts of fraud, an increase of 36.5 percent over the same month last year.
According to Serasa Experian, receipts or other documents that have the CPF (similar to a Social Security number) must be shredded before thrown away. Also make sure to keep your credit card in sight and out of a vender’s hand while making transactions, and of course verify any web site authenticity before making transactions online.
For stores and sellers, including restaurants, the advice to prevent identity theft fraud is before making a sale, always ask two original documents (such as CPF, identity cards or other ID), check inconsistencies in the documents (if the photo is recent, but the date of issue is when the person was younger or vice versa), confirm that the information provided by the customer is accurate and consistent on the documents.