Identity Theft Articles

New Mobile Technology Could Help Prevent Identity Theft

Mobile technology may protect consumers from identity theft by linking phones to financial transactions

A new technology has been introduced that hopes to link financial information to mobile phones, making it more difficult for identity thieves to use stolen payment information.

FinSphere, a start-up company, has recently unveiled a mobile system it believes will stop identity thieves in their tracks when they attempt to use a victim's credit or debit account information. Through the use of a service called PinPoint, consumers can link their financial transactions at banks, retailers and credit card issuers to their mobile phones, according to TechFlash, a technology news website.

This will allow PinPoint to alert the customer if transactions are taking place in an area other than where their mobile phone is located. For example, if a purchase is made in California, but the consumer's mobile device is located in Boston, the consumer will receive an alert notifying them of the transaction, the website said.

"Because the mobile phone is such a personal device and so ubiquitous, our concept was that we could basically use your mobile phone as a proxy for your identity," Finsphere CEO Mike Buhrmann told TechFlash. "If we know where you are spending your money, and it is a different location than where you are and where your phone is, then that is an area that we should analyze for potential fraud."

Additionally, customers would be able to log in to the service with a standard username and password, rather than other types of sensitive information, such as credit and debit card account data, the website said. The system would also take a customer's financial history into account, including where they shop most frequently and the types of purchases normally made.

More companies are competing to introduce products aimed at reducing the risk of identity theft, but consumers should take steps on their own to ensure their information is well protected when they leave home. For example, shoppers can cut down on the number of credit cards they carry with them in the event that their wallet or purse is stolen. Carrying five credit cards when they only plan on using one puts them at risk when they go out.

The same is true for other personal information, such as a consumer's Social Security number. Consumers should refrain from carrying their Social Security card around unless they are going to a place where they will specifically need it.