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Nearly everyone in the U.S. has a smartphone, shops online, and logs into their bank from the internet. This alone creates a breeding ground for new scams. Add onto that constantly arising scams from people looking to take advantage of COVID-19, protests, and the fundraising surrounding both, and you have a world where identity theft is as serious of a threat as ever.
Since the rise of the internet, scam artists have used technology to steal personal information of people around the world. Preventative measures are constantly getting more sophisticated, but so too are the scams.
Below, we’ve sourced top studies and data around identity theft to help companies and employers alike better understand the risks.
Magnitude and Extent of Identity Theft
- In 2021, the number of records exposed due to data breaches was more than 1.6 billion (Statista, 2023)
- Fraud rates have fallen 15%, but the number of victims remains high with 16.9 million in 2019 alone (Javelin Strategy, 2020)
- Even though the number of victims is down, more victims are personally paying out of pocket for fraud (Javelin Strategy, 2019)
- Children identity theft resulted in total losses of $2.6 billion and over $540 million in out-of-pocket costs to families (Javelin Strategy, 2018)
- In 2021, almost 42 million Americans were victims of identity fraud. (Javelin, 2022)
- In 2022, the number of victims declined by 2 million. (Javelin, 2023)
- The total amount of identity fraud losses in 2021 was appraised at $52 billion. (Javelin, 2022)
- The average individual per-victim loss from traditional identity fraud was $1,551 in 2021. The average loss per identity fraud scam was $1,029. (Javelin, 2022)
- In 2022, the total losses declined by 17% compared to 2021, amounting to $43 billion. (Javelin, 2023)
- Identity fraud involving savings, insurance, checking, and other accounts increased by 73% in 2021, accounting for $7.8 billion. (Javelin, 2022)
- According to FTC, there were 1.1 million reports of identity theft in 2022. (FTC, 2023)
- Between July 2021 to July 2022, 915,000 children were victims of identity fraud. (Javelin, 2022)
- In 2022, 422,143,312 people were victims of data compromises. (ITRC, 2023)
- In Q1 of 2023, there were 280,318 identity theft reports. (Federal Trade Commission, 2023)
Identity Theft Demographics
- More women (13.5 million) are victims of identity theft than men (12.5 million) (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2019)
- Children are becoming more frequent targets of frauds: More than one million were victims of identity fraud in 2017 (Javelin Strategy, 2018)
- High-income individuals are more likely to become victims of identity fraud, especially concerning the use of existing accounts (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2010)
- Seniors are targeted most often over the telephone and through internet phishing scams (Federal Trade Commission, 2019)
- Georgia is the state with most identity theft reports, South Dakota has the least reports (Federal Trade Commission, 2019)
- People aged 30-39 years reported 170,255 identity thefts, making it the age group with most reports (Federal Trade Commission, 2019)
- 27% of Hispanic and 26% of Black households were victims of data breaches in 2022. (Javelin, 2023)
- Most identity theft reports come from people between 30-39, followed by 40-49, 20-29, and 50-59. (FTC, 2023)
- People between 30 and 39 were mostly victims of credit card fraud. (FTC, 2023)
- Georgia ranks first for the number of reports per 100K population. However, most reports came from people living in California. (FTC, 2023)
- The top three metropolitan areas for identity theft reports are Tuscaloosa, AL, Baton Rouge, LA, and Miami Fort, Lauderdale – Pompano Beach, FL. (FTC, 2023)
Identity Theft Methods
- COVID-19 has caused a spike in fake charity donation offers, scam employment posts, and fraudulent investment sites (Identity Force, 2020)
- Three most common identity theft types are: credit card fraud; other identity theft like email or social media, and loan or lease fraud (Federal Trade Commission, 2019)
- Credit card fraud is the most common fraud with 271,000 reports from people who said their information was misused on an existing account or to open a new credit card account (Federal Trade Commission, 2019)
- Having online media accounts increases chances of identity theft by 46% (Javelin Strategy, 2016)
- While credit card frauds have declined, more complex frauds have been on the rise, complete account takeover frauds allow fraudsters to gain full access to victim accounts (Javelin Strategy, 2019)
- There were 679.000 mobile phone account takeovers in 2019, significantly more than previous years (Javelin Strategy, 2019)
- In 2021, 15 million US consumers were victims of traditional identity fraud involving using a consumer’s personal information to gain financial gain. However, identity fraud scams where the victims have direct contact with the criminals happened to 27 million consumers. (Javelin, 2022)
- In 2021, credit card fraud rose by 60% and cost customers approximately $9.3 billion. (Javelin, 2022)
- In 2022, 15.4 million people suffered losses from traditional identity fraud, whereas 25 million were victims of identity fraud scams. (Javelin, 2023)
- Credit card frauds were among the top three types of identity theft reports, with 441,882 reports from people saying their information was misused with an existing or new
- credit card. (FTC, 2023) The other two types include bank fraud, with 156,099 reports, and loan or lease fraud, with 153,547 reports. (FTC, 2023)
Lasting Consequences of Identity Theft
- Severe emotional distress was reported by almost a fifth of victims to identity theft (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2019)
- 23% of fraud victims did not get reimbursement from identity theft in 2019, that is three times as many as 2016 (Javelin Strategy, 2019)
- Two-thirds of victims reported direct financial harm from identity theft (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2019)
- Younger people aged 20-29 (33%) reported losing money to fraud more often than old people (13%) aged 70-79 (Federal Trade Commission, 2019)
- But the monetary losses of old people are much higher compared to younger people, almost four times higher (Federal Trade Commission, 2019)
Identity Theft Discovery and Prevention
- Almost half (48%) of victims learn about the crime after a financial institution contacts them (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2019)
- 7% of identity theft victims reported the crime to police (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2019)
- 62% of consumer said they are not worried about the security of their online personal information (Experian, 2017)
- On average, consumers spend 16 hours to dispute charges on fake accounts. (Javelin, 2022)
Business and Cybersecurity
- 31% of small businesses are not taking any measures to mitigate cyber risk (CSID, 2017)
- 58% of small businesses are worried about cyber-attacks, and yet only 49% are allocating a budget to better prepare (CSID, 2017)
- The Equifax breach exposed sensitive personal information of over 147 million people, including Social Security Numbers (FTC, 2020)
- In 2022, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received 21,832 business email compromise complaints with over $2.7 billion in losses. (IC3, 2023)
Understanding the statistics, magnitude as well as direct and indirect consequences identity theft can have on victims is a crucial step in raising awareness and preventing it.
Written by Shortlister editorial team
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