Identity Theft Risk Spiking With COVID-19

Physicians Practice
By Ike Devji, JD
October 13, 2020

We’ve covered a variety of risks related to the coronavirus from many angles, ranging from the need for you to reexamine your liability insurance coverage to the importance of having effective mask-usage policies and the ways COVID 19 threatens your medical practice and how to survive the effects on your income and the economy. One risk we previously anticipated, but certainly not to the extent to which it actually happened, has been a spike in identity theft.

The statistics are shocking; it happens every two seconds, has affected 30% of the U.S. population, and affected over 14 million last year alone. Criminals have taken advantage of the chaos the virus has caused to both increase their traditional identity theft activities and to expand into newer areas including using your identity to fraudulently obtain unemployment benefits, receive PPP Loans, and take over your bank accounts, and open new accounts in your name.

Scams Fall into Three Major Categories

  • They get you to reveal your personal identifying information to them by phone, online, by text message or through some other form of “phishing” that often imitates a vendor, bank, etc. where you actually have an account.
  • Using malware to infect your computer or smartphone so they can get your passwords and other personal info or use ransomware to lock you out of your computers and files. This may include the use of malicious links and attachments in emails and text messages, asking you to call a fake customer service number, or directing you to a fake login page where you are asked to enter or “confirm” your information.
  • Getting you to send money to or make purchases from organizations that are not legitimate in one or more ways.
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Cybersecurity risks are constantly evolving. Visit our Cyber Liability & Risk Toolkit for resources regarding online training, incident prevention, and what to do when security breaches occur.

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