Identity theft reports to the Federal Trade Commission show that Verizon was the most frequently named company, averaging over 900 events per month in 2007. According to an updated study by Chris Hoofnagle, senior fellow at the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, the number of complaints involving Verizon nearly tripled from 2006. Rounding out the top five are AFNI (a collection agency), JP Morgan Chase, AT&T, and Capital One.
We wrote about Hoofnagle’s research in February, when he was analyzing identity theft at banks. Since then, he’s expanded his research to include incidents at all companies.
Although the research is useful, Hoofnagle concedes that it is imperfect: a customer who falls for a phishing scam doesn’t necessarily impart any fault to the company. On the other hand, the amount of phishing-related identity thefts is dwarfed by other types of fraud, such as new accounts created from pre-approved credit solicitations. Hoofnagle asks for increased transparency by businesses, which would provide more useful data and lead to better analysis.