Bank of America, Washington Mutual, and HSBC among top for identity theft.
An investigative study by a UC Berkeley Law School researcher reveals that customers of large banks such as HSBC, Washing Mutual and Bank of America suffer the highest rates of identity theft in the banking industry. Thousands of customers have reported identity theft from the previously mentioned banks. With an alarming rate of growth of phishing sites identity theft has run ramped among the larger banks.
Why are bigger banks the BIGGER target?
Because larger banks serve such a broad range of customers it is an easier task to fool a large amount of users with sites masquerading as a big bank web site. This is where the phishing attack leads to identity theft on a bigger scale. Usually bank customers can easily recognize their bank logos and websites. Phishers set up sites that mask as a legitimate banking website where banking customers may enter their personal information and it is then stolen by the hacker on the other end. These sites are usually online for days at a time until the bank or other authorities discover it and shut it down.
The bigger banks may be a better target for identity theft due to the extra amount of time it takes for them to shut down any discovered phishing sites. Recently it was reported that Washington Mutual and Bank of America took the longest time to shut down the phishing sites that were targeting the banks. The extra amount of time that any phishing site is up only leads to more customers getting their identity stolen. The phishing sites for Bank of America and Washington Mutual usually stayed online for more than 100 hours when compared with under 48 hours for Chase and PayPal.
Identity Theft Tip
Identity theft is at an all-time high and internet users must educate themselves as much as they can to help prevent theft of their personal information. It is always a good suggestion to carefully examine the URL address spelling of any banking website that you may visit. Phishing websites do a good job in convincing banking customers that it is the actual banking website. We must all read the latest alerts and warnings and adhere to them before it is too late.