Identity Theft: Breaking Barriers and Crossing International Borders


In the modern age, our ‘identity’ often materializes online in the form of social profiles, credit card information, and our overall digital footprint. Since our identity is spilling into the online realm, it is becoming an international problem, crossing oceans and borders. While much analysis revolves around the theft problem in the United States, identity theft is an international issue and can be found all over the world.

Work from Home Scams

Although the United States leads in cases of identity theft and cybercrime, China comes in second. In China, and Asia in general, work from home scams make up most of the reported identity theft cases. Cyber criminals target the large aspiring work force in Asia and offer unsuspecting victims a highly appealing opportunity to start a business and make money from home. By the time most victims realize this opportunity is fake, they have invested hundreds or thousands of dollars and divulged personal information such as bank accounts and credit card information.

Mobile Hacking and Hot Spot Spoofing

Since we are all attached to our phones, mobile hacking is an easy way for cyber criminals to obtain an abundance of personal information. This information can be taken when victims log on to unsecure Wi-Fi hotspots, or hotspots spoofed by cyber criminals. Per Kaspersky Lab, the countries with the highest risk of mobile hacking attacks are China, Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Germany, Ukraine, Vietnam, Iran, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, and Brazil.

Brexit Increasing Cyber Crime in Europe

Identity thieves see opportunities in disasters and political upheaval, particularly regarding events that impact a country’s economy. These criminals are constantly watching the news and develop new ways of stealing personal information based on current events. For example, during the Japanese earthquake and Hurricane Katrina, many cyber criminals disguised themselves as charities asking for donations, but instead collected money and credit card information for malicious activity.

Cybersecurity experts believe that the next crime of opportunity for cyber criminals is Brexit, or the decision of the United Kingdom to break away from the European Union. These experts believe that identity thieves will take advantage of the United Kingdom’s mass confusion and fear regarding the break, and develop online scams and phishing schemes related to immigration status, state benefits, and employment opportunities.

Romance Scams

These scams target millions of single men and women across the world and originate from countries such as Ghana, the Philippines, and Russia. The most popular scheme involves sending single men an email from a girl urging the recipient to check out her online dating profile. Clicking on the site either starts an attack on your computer, extracting relevant personal information, or sends you to a malicious online dating site which will then phish for your information. So be careful; You may not be meeting the person of your dreams, but instead a conman hiding behind the protection of a computer screen.

If you think you have been the victim of fraud please contact:

Jeff Lane

Partner | Email

Disclaimer: This publication is general in nature and is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.

Article contributed by Jenny Holt, freelance technology and crime writer.