When a slumping economy and historically high unemployment rates dropped the ax on the country’s workforce and left the survivors wondering if — or when — they’d be next, law enforcers and security experts braced themselves for what they considered would be an almost inevitable rise in data breaches and high-tech crimes. Based on new data, it appears they may have been right. National unemployment rates peaked in October at 10.1 percent and remained at 9.7 percent during the first two months of the year. Local law enforcement officials said the inability to find gainful employment has been a recurrent motivation behind new cases of identity theft and software piracy that drop on their desks almost daily. In one recent case under investigation, a detective sergeant said, an unemployed San Mateo, California woman in her 20s was detained with a large number of re-encoded credit cards in her possession. She said she was using them to buy food. And a Fremont, California man who had been recently laid off was arrested in February for selling pirated copies of a $2,500 Adobe design program for $150 on Craigslist. According to cybersecurity researchers, corporations across all industries have been dealing with a steadily growing number of internal data breaches since the financial meltdown.

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