Few people are truly aware of how commonplace identity theft has become. According to research firm Gartner, the incidence of identity theft has risen sharply since 2003. In this post, we’ll show you some identity theft statistics that should make you think differently about it.
The Internet in particular has given hackers new ways to commit identity theft – sometimes in surprisingly imaginative ways. For example, by pretending that you’ve won a competition, hackers create a plausible reason to ask for your personal information.
Hopefully these statistics on identity theft will give you an idea of how widespread identity theft is, and why it is more important than ever to protect your identity from prying eyes.
In 2011, the incidence of identity theft in the US increased by 13% compared to the previous year.
The incidence of identity theft has been rapidly increasing in recent years. The 2012 Identity Fraud Survey Report by Javelin Strategy & Research found that the number of identity theft victims had increased by 13 percent when compared to the previous year.
In 2009, identity theft was responsible for more than $50 billion being stolen.
Javelin’s report in 2010 found that in 2009 $54 billion was stolen through identity fraud. This represented a 12.5 percent increase on the previous year.
In 2011, identity theft affected a total of 8.1 million US citizens.
Victims of identity theft sometimes feel embarrassed over the fact that they’ve been scammed, but as this statistic shows, identity theft is much more common than you think. In 2011, 3.5 percent of US population were victims of identity theft, losing an average of $631 each.
In 2009, the incidence of New Account Fraud increased to make up 39% of all identity fraud.
The type of identity theft criminals engage in is changing, with increasing amounts of new account fraud. The number of online accounts opened fraudulently more than doubled. New account fraud represented 39 percent of identity theft victims in 2009, up from 33 percent of victims in 2008.
The rate of “friendly fraud” is increasing rapidly.
The incidence of friendly fraud has increased 7% in 2011 compared to the previous year. Friendly fraud is when an identity thief is a known acquaintance of the victim. This is a reminder than just because you know someone doesn’t necessarily mean they can be trusted with your confidential information. The victims of this type of fraud tends to be aged between 25 and 34.
A social media user is more likely to be a victim of identity theft.
These online identity theft statistics may come as no surprise: someone who uses social media like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are more likely to be a victim of identity theft. Social media is a great resource of identity thieves, as users tend to share lots of personal information publicly:
• 45 percent of social media users sharing their birthday publicly.
• 63 percent share their high school name.
• 18 percent share their phone number.
• 12 percent share their pet’s name.
US laws against identity theft were only introduced in 2003.
The laws that deal with identity theft are still relatively young in the US. It was only in 1998 that an act was drafted to deal with identity theft. Identity theft eventually came into force in 2003 thanks to the Identity Theft Deterrence Act. The statute made it a federal crime to knowingly transfer, possess, or use without lawful authority” the details of someone else’s identity.
The average time to resolve identity theft has dropped by 30 percent in 2010.
On a more positive note, identity theft is being dealt with more promptly and is resulting in more arrests. It took an average time of 21 hours to resolve an identity theft case in 2010, and the number of arrests in fraud cases doubled.
As consumers become more educated about identity theft and information becomes more widely available, hopefully identity theft can be greatly reduced. But right now one must remain aware that identity theft happens and protect yourself as much as you can.
If you would like to take a more proactive approach to identity theft check out my recent review of the Lifelock Ultimate program where they will walk you through the necessary steps to protect your identity.