‘You’ve heard it before: identity theft is on the rise. New research has revealed that for yet another year, this audacious fact is still the case.
In 2017, the number of identity fraud victims in the United States increased by 8%, rising to 16.7 million. The price tag for the crime? Almost $17 billion. While this number seems steep, it has decreased from the record amount recorded in 2012.
The ways that criminals are stealing data and using it fraudulently are growing more sophisticated, evading the host of new technologies and policies developed by government and business designed to combat the threat. The dubious result of these tactics is a 300% uptick in the number of personal accounts that have been used fraudulently. And we’re not just talking about credit cards: Javelin Strategy and Research’s Senior Vice President, research director, and head of fraud and security stated that there’s been an increase in takeovers of “loyalty/reward accounts theft (such as hotel points), cryptowallet[s].., and brokerage accounts.” Mobile phone accounts, Internet payment accounts and online merchant accounts have also grown as targets.
Victims of account takeover attacks paid out-of-pocket nearly $300 on average and spent 15 hours resolving the fraud.
Two-thirds of Americans are worried about identity theft, a higher percentage than those that are worried about conventional crimes such as robbery. This is unsurprising considering he prevalence of high-profile data breaches dominating the news and a growing population that has been a victim of identity fraud or knows someone who has.
The bright spot in all of this is that the increased awareness of the threat has led to more vigilance from individuals and institutions to confront the issue. A number of state governments have passed or are considering legislation that require increased data privacy policies while strengthening the punishment for cases of identity theft. Cybersecurity experts are working hand-in-hand with business to enhance identity authentication while educating staff and customers on how to mitigate risk. And national organizations like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are leading the charge on public education campaigns and research to interrupt the negative impacts.
The research also states that identity protection services have become an important tool for individuals, monitoring personal data on the deep and dark web where stolen information is bought and sold and alerting the user at the first sign of suspicious activity so that they can take action before fraud occurs. Resolution specialists are available through these programs to help navigate the complicated process of unraveling the mess left behind while doing a majority of the time-consuming legwork.
To learn more about how identity protection can help you strengthen your ability to protect yourself in the face of rising identity theft threats, consider purchasing Iris Identity Protection today.