Javelin Strategy & Research have today released their annual identity fraud report. It reports that in 2012 identity fraud incidents increased by more than 1 million victims from 2011 and fraudsters stole more than $20 billion, the highest since 2009. This is significantly lower than the $47 billion reported in 2004.
The survey found that 12.6 million US citizens were victims of identity fraud, which accounted for 1 victim every 3 seconds. The report also highlighted that 1 in 4 consumers that received a data breach letter became a victim of identity fraud – this was the highest rate since 2010. Social Security (SSN) data compromises were 5 times more likely to be a fraud victim than an average consumer.
Data breaches played a significant role in identity fraud. Consumer information was misused for an average of 48 days in 2012, which is down from 55 days in 2011 and 95 days in 2010. Misuse time was down for all types of fraud including fraud on cards, loans, bank accounts, mobile phone bills and other types of fraud due to consumer and industry action. More than 50 percent of victims were actively detecting fraud using financial alerts, credit monitoring or identity protection services and by monitoring their accounts.
15% of all fraud victims decided to change behaviours and avoid smaller online merchants. This is a much greater percentage than this that avoid gaming sites or larger retailers. More than 1.5 million consumers (with lower income consumers being more likely victim of this type of fraud) were victims of familiar fraud, which is when someone knows the fraudster. Fraudsters will look to steal full names, SSN, address and checking account numbers.
It’s important to remind readers here that it is the financial institutions that bare the majority of the costs of most types of card frauds. Identity theft protection services and financial institutions have made great inroads with education and awareness, so it is little surprise to read that 33% of consumers were notified (and acted upon the notification) of the fraud by the bank or credit card issuer.
For more information on what you need to know about how to protect US identity theft protection (I wrote this in December of 2011, and it is still relevant and accurate today).
Safe surfing folks!