Every year, around one in every twenty Americans is a victim of identity theft. According to Javelin's 2020 Identity Fraud Survey, 13 million Americans were victims of identity fraud in 2019, resulting in total fraud losses of over $17 billion. However, preliminary research suggests that identity theft may have increased alarmingly in 2020. For example, one study found that the number of U.S. victims of identity theft was estimated to be between 15 and 20 million, which would be a 30% increase from 2019.
Identity theft can involve using someone else's information to get credit cards, open new accounts, take out loans, and even file tax returns. It can also involve eavesdropping on phone calls or reading emails. Using this information, an identity thief can create documents that appear to come from the victim, such as letters of reference or bank statements. These documents are then used by the thief to obtain jobs or other services under the victim's name.
In addition to losing their personal information, victims often face significant problems when trying to resolve the issue. Only half of all victims report their incident to any type of authority, such as their local police department or federal agency. When they do report the crime, only one in four say they received help from those authorities. In fact, almost one in five identify theft victims says he or she was threatened with arrest or criminal charges if they didn't pay off debts or complete other tasks requested by the thief.
In 2019, 14.4 million customers were victims of identity fraud, accounting for around one in every fifteen persons. Overall, 33 percent of individuals in the United States have suffered identity theft, which is more than double the global average. More than one in every four older persons, aged 55 and over, has been a victim of identity theft. Women are almost twice as likely as men to be victims of this crime.
The number of cases of ID theft has increased by nearly 50 percent since 2013, when there were 9.6 million victims of ID theft. The rise in ID theft is troubling because it shows that these crimes are becoming more common and/or easier to commit. In addition, the number of victims continues to increase even though consumers become more aware of their rights and ways to protect themselves exist. This indicates that more needs to be done to prevent ID theft.
Here are some other facts about identity theft:
Identity theft is a type of fraud that can have serious consequences for its victims. It can cause loss of employment opportunities, damage to a person's reputation, and even lead to imprisonment. Identity theft can also cost businesses billions of dollars annually due to lost revenue and higher consumer debt.
People who use credit reports as part of the application process for jobs or promotions may be asked to verify their identity by providing proof of identification and credit history. If you do not provide this information, you may be denied access to services or products.
In 2011, there was a 13% increase in identity fraud in the United States, with over 11.6 million Americans being victims of ID theft. Identity theft is more than just a bother. It can have major effects for your finances as well as your life. Many individuals associate identity theft with financial deception. However, that is only one type of identity theft. There are others such as data theft or simply using someone else's information.
Identity theft involves using another person's identifying information to get credit, apply for jobs, rent apartments, etc. This may be done to obtain money under their name or to obtain goods and services that they cannot afford. Data thieves will use this information to commit other crimes such as employment discrimination, stalking, harassment, and even criminal charges. They may also use this information to open new accounts or take out loans in your name without your knowledge.
The amount of damage caused by identity theft depends on how much information is taken. If an individual's entire file is viewed by an unauthorized user, they might not find anything of value. However, if an intruder gets access to sensitive personal details such as social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, etc., they could use this information to steal your identity. Even if you never share your information directly, it may still be used against you in some way. For example, your employer might be asked to verify your identity when you try to open a new account or apply for a job.
For the second year in a row, the number of identity theft events decreased, from 6.6 percent of customers in 2016 to 5.7 percent in 2018, then to 5.1 percent in 2019. Furthermore, Javelin Strategy discovered that minors are increasingly becoming victims of identity fraud. One in seven (14%) children under 13 were affected by ID fraud in 2019, compared to one in ten (10%) children in 2008.
However, even though the overall number of incidents is declining, the amount of damage being done is increasing. Javelin found that the average cost of an ID fraud event has increased by more than 100 percent since 2008. Further, one in four (25%) consumers who experienced ID fraud in 2009 needed additional help paying for things like rent or mortgage payments, credit card bills or other expenses. That number rose to nearly one in three (31%) consumers who had an ID fraud incident in 2019.
According to Javelin, the rate of identity fraud is between 1 and 3 out of every 1000 people. This means that around 30 million people a year become victims of identity fraud. The actual number may be higher because not all cases are reported. Also, some identity thieves use aliases to avoid getting caught.