Identity Fraud Continues to Skyrocket
Identity theft is happening all the time–literally.
A new report by Javelin Strategy & Research shows that there was a new identity fraud victim nearly every two seconds in 2013.
Last year, there were an estimated 13.1 million victims of identity fraud, up nearly 500,000 from 2012.
The study shows that 44% of all fraud involved an online transaction.
The only good news in the report was that criminals stole less money last year. The total amount stolen dropped from $21 billion in 2012 to $18 billion in 2013.
Identity fraud is defined in the report as an “unauthorized use of another person’s personal information to achieve illicit financial gain.”
Pay attention to the data breach notices because it is becoming more likely that you will be a victim of identity fraud. In 2013, one-third of consumers who received a data-breach notification became a victim of fraud. That figure was just one in five in 2011.
Identity thieves have also become more aggressive. Instead of stealing your personal information and opening a new account, they are taking over existing bank or credit card accounts. The survey said this took place in about 28% of identity fraud losses, up from 24% in 2012.
Identity thieves are not restricting their efforts to bank accounts. The report showed that identity fraud carried over to other financial accounts where consumers keep their money, such as eBay and PayPal accounts. These thefts tripled last year and accounted for $5 billion in losses.