While the entire world is marching towards digitalization, the cases of Identity theft and digital scams are increasing year over year simultaneously. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s report, in 2021, the three major consumer complaints categories were:
- Identity theft
- Imposter scams (a subset of fraud)
- Credit Card Frauds & Data Breach
Compared to 2019, identity theft fraud cases increased by 45% in 2020, leading to a $4.5 Billion total loss. This further increased in 2021, when Americans alone suffered a loss of $56 billion.
Here are 25 crucial and noteworthy stats about identity theft and fraud to keep you attentive.
25 Noteworthy Identity Theft Facts and Statistics
Types of Identity Theft
Do you know what the most common Identity theft types are?
1. According to a Federal Trade Commission report, the top five types of Identity theft in 2021 were:
- Government benefits applied for/received -Around 385,264 cases were recorded under this category. The recorded cases accounted for 31.0%.
- Credit card fraud – Around 363,092 cases included Credit card fraud that occurred through new account creation. Such frauds made up 29.2%.
- Miscellaneous (2) – The total number of cases was around 300, contributing to 24.1%.
Business/personal loan – Through business or personal loan frauds, around 105,711 cases were reported in 2021, making 8.5% of the total top five.
- Tax fraud – Around 7.2% of top five identity theft cases consisted of tax fraud cases, with a total number of cases around 89,649.
How Common Is Identity Theft? [Worldwide Identity Theft Numbers]
2. In the US, around 1,387,615 identity theft cases were reported in 2020, with an increase of 53% from 2019.
In the last 20 years, such cases have increased significantly year after year. In 2020, the number of reported cases skyrocketed to about 1.4 million, which in 2019 was around 650,523 and 444,344 in 2018.
3. Each year, around 9 million identities get stolen on average.
As per the FTC survey of around 27.3 million Americans in the last five years, about 9.9 million become victims of identity theft cases every year. It means around 7% of American adults have their identities misused, leading to a loss of approximately $48 billion in total (2021). Out of these 9 million people, at least 534 million personal records have been breached since 2005.
4. The number of fraud cases increased by 27% between 2020 and 2021, from 2.2 million to 2.8 million.
As the work-from-home opportunities increased after a lockdown in the last two years, the fraudulent and identity theft cases also increased significantly between 2020 to 2021 by around 27%. As the fraud cases increased, the total monetary loss jumped from $3.3 billion to $5.9 billion during that period.
[Source: Finance Yahoo]
5. Around 60 million Americans were affected in 2018 compared to the 15 million cases in 2017.
In 2017, around 1,579 data breaches were witnessed, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, which exposed about 178 million records. One of the popular data breaches involved Equifax (one of the major credit card reporting agencies), with a large number of victims, around 147.9 million. The data breach included:
- Important information like Names.
- Dates of birth.
- Billing Addresses (residence or office addresses).
- Social security numbers and driving license numbers.
6. As per 2019 identity theft data, around 40% of fraud cases associated with account takeovers happened within a day.
Due to technical advancements, it has become easy for scammers and hackers to take over someone’s account without additional security infrastructure. That is why criminals have become quicker, and around 40% of account takeover fraud cases occur within a day. In 2019, account takeover cases increased by 72% than 2018, which grew by another 20% in 2020.
[Source: Javelin Strategy]
7. The cases of account takeovers spiked massively by 307% during the pandemic period (April 2020 – June 2021).
Sift, an anti-fraud company conducted a survey on more than 1,000 consumers by analyzing its network of over 34,000 sites and apps. According to the survey, of the total fraudulent attempts blocked on Sift network in Q2 2021, 39% were account takeover cases.
In the past three years, the cases of identity theft and account takeovers have increased by three folds. Between 2020 and 2021, the account takeover cases rose 850 percent, where crypto wallet and digital exchange users were the main targets.
[Source: IT Portal]
8. Every year, the identity of around 2.5 million dead people in the US gets stolen for scams and frauds.
Out of these 2.5 million cases, in about 0.8 million cases, attackers stole the identity to apply for a new credit card or phone connection. While in the other 1.6 million cases, the stolen identity gets used to fabricate the social security numbers of those deceased people.
9. In 2018 and 2019, one out of five Europeans suffered from at least one type of identity theft.
During 2018 and 2019, identity theft was the second most common type of fraud, affecting around 56% of Europeans. According to the European Commission Survey on Scams and Fraud Experiences, the Monetary scam was the most encountered type of fraud in those two years in Europe, with 39% of people reporting such cases. While it ranked second, accounting for 33% of all fraud cases.
[Source: GRC World Forums]
Who Are Primary Victims of Identity Theft Cases? [At-Risk Age Groups]
10. The residents of California are the primary victims of identity theft cases, with at least one consumer falling for it every two seconds.
Since 2014, identity theft has been the fastest-growing fraud in America. In 2014 alone, there were 127 million such cases in America, leading to the loss of $16,000,000,000.
The number grew massively in 2017, about 143 million cases after the Equifax hack. In 2020, California witnessed the highest number of identity theft cases (around 147,382, as per an FTC report), followed by Illinois (approximately 135,038), Texas (around 134,788), and Florida (about 101,367).
11. Females experience more identity theft compared to males.
According to a 2016 survey, despite more females (around 13.5 million) experiencing identity theft cases than males (about 12.5 million), the prevalence rate is almost similar in both genders.
White or Non-Hispanic Americans have a higher prevalence rate (around 12%) than other people of other races like Black (7%) and Hispanic (6%).
[Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics]
12. As per the Cybercrime Statistics 2017, around 1 million children become victims of identity theft fraud every year.
In 2017, around 1 million children became victims of identity stealing cases, leading to the loss of about $2.67 billion. Out of these 1 million children, two-thirds were under the age of eight years, while the other 20% were of age group 12 or more.
[Source: NBC News]
13. In the US, around 35% of the fraud cases belong to the millennial generation – of the Age group 20 to 30.
It is a shocking statistic indeed because people believe that online scams and identity thefts generally occur more with people of age 40 or above; however, this is not true. According to the FTC survey, millennials are more likely to face such fraud cases.
Youngsters aged 20 to 30 years are 35% more likely to become victims of identity theft cases in the US than those aged 40 or above. The top five online fraud cases type faced by the millennial generation are:
- Online Shopping Frauds
- Government Imposters
- Business Imposters
- Romance Scams
- Fake Cheque scams
14. Social Media users are more vulnerable and at high risk of identity theft cases worldwide.
According to recent surveys, people actively engaged on social media channels like Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, etc., are more vulnerable and likely to fall for social media identity theft scams (at 46% more risk than people who are not on social media platforms). This is because these platforms use tons of private & confidential information of users and keep it on their servers. Online scammers can easily hack this information to use for fraud cases.
[Source: Business News Daily]
15. Around 51% of identity theft victims are high-income earners – around $75000 annually or more.
According to the Bureau of Justice’s bulletin, people earning $75,000 or more annually are more likely to be the victim of Identity theft cases (around 51%) than people earning less, approximately $24,999 or less (about 12%).
16. White communities comprise around 71% of identity theft victims compared to other races.
As the White population is more affluent, the majority of the victims belong to this community (around 71%), followed by Hispanics (approximately 11%), Black people (about 9%), Asians (around 5%) and the other races (makes 2%). [Source: FinMasters]
17. Only around 30% of people use VPNs to protect their identities for personal and business purposes.
Despite knowing that VPNs can provide advanced protection to their identity on public servers, not many people prefer to use them on public or private WiFi connections.
According to a survey, around 30% use VPNs for their personal use, while about 26-28% use them for business purposes and only approximately 15% use VPNs for both personal and business goals. This is also one of the reasons why identity theft cases are increasing year over year.
Credit Card Fraud Statistics
18. From 2017 to 2019, credit card fraud was the most common type of reported identity theft.
Out of the five most common types of identity theft, credit card fraud came on top from 2017 to 2019, accounting for 28% of the total cases. It was followed by phone or utilities fraud (19%), bank fraud (accounted for 18%), and employment fraud ( accounted for 13%).
[Source: Science Direct]
19. In the UK, around 49% of fraud complaints comprised credit card fraud in 2019.
Between the period of 2018 and 2019, the number of credit card ID theft cases increased by 112%. In 2018 alone, the cases of lost or fake credit cards increased by 59%, leading to a financial loss of around £47.3 million.
According to the intelligence, the primary ways of such cases include phishing emails, scam texts and the theft of mail from external mailboxes and multi-occupancy buildings.
[Source: UK Finance]
20. In the US, the rate of credit card fraud increased by double (more than 30%) in 2016 than in 2015.
Around 32% of consumers complained about the increased eCommerce frauds (via credit card) in 2016 (more than 30%) than in 2015, leading to the loss of $16 billion. One of the primary reasons behind this spike was the computer chip-enabled credit cards. These days, the majority of credit cards are chip-enabled, giving easy access to hackers related to consumers’ personal information and billing details.
21. As per the FTC survey, in 2020, around 91,515 stolen credit card cases were reported, comprising most card-not-present frauds.
While the in-person theft of credit cards is declining year over year, card-not-present frauds increase significantly every year. Each year, around 1 lakh such credit card cases get reported actively.
According to research, the US contributes to one-third of the world’s credit card fraud. In 2020, the US witnessed around $11 billion in financial loss through credit card fraud, with a significant increase in cases than in previous years. [Source: CreditCards.Com]
22. The stolen credit card information is sold between $0.50 to $20 per card on dark market websites.
Have you ever wondered about the worth of your precious credit card information on dark market webs? To your surprise, your precious data is worth between $0.50 to $20 in these underground marketplaces. The average selling cost of stolen credit cards depends on several factors, like:
- Brand of the card
- Origin Country
- Amount of Metadata of the card
- How recently the card got stolen
Based on all these factors, the cost of a stolen credit card goes between $0.6 to $30 per card.
How Can Identity Theft Impact Your Life? [Financial Loss Statistics]
23. In 2020, people lost around $56 billion through traditional and online identity theft scams in the US.
In 2020, around 49 million Americans were the victims of identity theft scams, resulting in an average loss of $56 billion. About $13 billion was through traditional identity theft scams (like data breaches and other similar attacks), while the rest of the financial loss (around $43 billion) was due to direct-interaction scams like phishing emails and messages.
24. In 2018, the burden of victims’ out-of-pocket fraud increased by more than double to cost around $1.7 billion.
While the cases of identity thefts and other online frauds dropped remarkably in 2018 to 14.4 million from 16.7 million in 2017, the liability burden was much heavier. Around 3.3 million consumers bore loans and liabilities to pay for the financial loss that occurred through such scams, significantly three times as many as in 2016.
The average financial loss caused in 2018 through such cases was about $1.7 billion (more than double as in previous years).
[Source: Global News Wire]
25. In 2017, more than 1 million families paid around $540 million in out-of-pocket costs for child identity theft.
As kids are the easiest target of online identity theft scams, more than 1 million families in the US became victims of child identity theft cases in 2017, leading to $2.6 billion losses on average. Such families paid around $540 million in out-of-pocket costs due to such child identity theft scams.
[Source: Business Insider]
These shocking identity theft statistics clearly indicate that identity cloning and credit card fraud cases increase year over year due to technological advancements. We need to be more cautious with our personal and financial information available on public servers to avoid such scams.
We can avoid being victims of such theft cases by following some crucial security steps like using VPN, two-factor authentication, private social media, varied and strong password combinations, etc. Be more proactive with your personal and financial information to avoid getting attacked by hackers and scammers.
- Finance Yahoo
- Javelin Strategy
- IT Portal
- GRC World Forums
- Bureau of Justice Statistics
- NBC News
- FTC (Millennials are more vulnerable to online fraud)
- Business News Daily
- Science Direct
- UK Finance
- Global News Wire
- Business Insider