Protecting Your Identity can Save You a Million Dollars and Your Sanity
Updated: May 12
Each year identity theft goes up! Do you want to be among the 3 million people a year to have your worst experience ever? Here are the facts...
Identity theft has reached epidemic proportions within the past five years. large companies have amped up their protections on their databases making it much more difficult to be hacked, leaving criminals to reach for the lower hanging fruit which is you, in which you will see ever so clearly in the data provided below.
1. Number of Fraud, Identity and Other Reports by Year
As of January 2019, the Consumer Sentinel Network Data produced by the Federal Trade Commission reported 3,200,329 reports of fraud, identity theft, and other personal financial theft targeted at everyday people and does not include company data breaches. I would say by anybody's metrics this would be considered epidemic proportions.
From 1.47 million in 2010 to almost 3 million at the end of 2019, is over 100% in 10 years. At this rate, you must do something to protect your identity or risk the painful consequences.
2. Just How Big is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is growing since there are new mechanisms for criminals to commit fraud each and every year. And according to the 2019 Identity Fraud Study from Javelin Strategy & Research, Identity fraud victims in 2018 experience a heavier financial burden. 3.3 million people had some responsibility for some of the liability of crimes committed against them, close to three times as many as in 2016. Fraud cost out of pocket more than doubled from 2016 to 2018 2 1.7 billion dollars.
People who have created new Financial accounts such as, loyalty, rewards programs and retirement accounts. Particularly with mobile phone accounts, criminals are becoming all too familiar with how to circumvent authentication procedures. Mobile crimes increased by almost 30% from nearly 700,000 victims in 2018 compared with almost 400,000 victims in 2017. A little bit of good news we were able to glean is that the chips embedded in credit cards are helping to contain existing card fraud, showing The largest pullback of any fraud type in 2018, With losses at nearly 15 billion in 2018 down from almost 17 billion in 2017.
3. Complaints Filed from Identity Theft and Fraud
Each year the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) produces a report called the Consumer Sentinel Network Databook. One of the categories that this report highlights Is consumer fraud and identity theft complaints that have been filed with the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in addition to private organizations.
The identity theft and fraud reports received in 2018 out of a total of 3 million, 1.4 million were fraud-related, and 25% of those cases have reported money was lost. Consumers reported losing about 1.48 billion dollars in 2018, which was an increase of $406 million dollars from 2017. The average amount consumers paid in these cases was $375. Fraud complaints, imposter scams were the most widely reported and the FTC ranked it at number one from a broad range of top 10 categories.
$488 million dollars in losses were accounted for in 2018 and 15% of all complaints were related to Identity Theft, this being said, Identity theft complaints were the third most reported to the FTC. These claims fell from 2015 to 2018 by 9.3%, how every day began to increase again in 2018 and we're up again by 19.8% from 2017 to 2018. In 2019, we're showing a surge with Identity theft and fraud aimed directly at individuals, while other forms of crimes like bank and lender data breaches, debt collection and credit card breaches are on a sharp decline. This shows that companies have stepped up their game in protecting their customers, however, the crimes are strengthing directly towards individuals.
Number of Reports by Type Shown in the 2019 FTC Report:
At the beginning of 2019 the identity theft Resource Center (ITRC) predicted Identity Theft Protection Services will primarily focus on data breaches, data abuse, and data privacy. As you can see in the chart, fraud and identity theft is sharply increasing and will be amplified by the current pandemic environment of Covid-19.
4. Cyber Attacks are getting More Ambitious
Semantics produced in 2019 the internet security threat report, And it shows that cybercriminals are diversifying their targets and adopting sneakier methods to commit identity theft and fraud. Companies like Mealybug, Gallmaker, and Necurs which are cybercrime groups Are opting for off-the-shelf tools and operating system features such as Powershell and attack targets. Supply chain attacks are up by 70%, malicious Powershell scripts have increased by 1000%, Microsoft Office files make up 48% of malicious email attachments.
5. IoT (Internet of Things) Threats are on the rise
IoT or The Internet of Things, defined by, IoT analytics guide: Understanding Internet of Things Data, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers ( UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human to human or human to computer interaction.
Cybercriminals attack IoT devices on average 5,233 times per month. Accounting for about 90% of activity, routers and connected cameras were the main targets of IoT attacks in 2018. In the last year 12% increase in IoT attacks involving connected cameras. Cybercriminals most often access IoT devices by using the passwords: 123456, [Blank], system, sh, shell, admin, 1 2 3 4, password, and 12345. This is the program I use and it's fantastic. (Click here to trial Dark Web Monitoring for just $1) from one of the top-rated companies.
6. Formjacking is up 117%
In 2018, more than 57600 unique websites were compromised by form jacking. Millions of dollars each month were had by cybercriminals hijacking credit card data from online payment forms.
7. Ransomware activities down 20%
The first time since 2013 ransomware attacks decreased for the first time last year. identity theft experts suspect this is because ransomware attacks Target windows-based applications and more people are storing and sharing data using the cloud. These threats still remain for businessmen, as enterprise ransomware has increased by 12%.
8. New account fraud is up by 13%
According to the Javelin, new account fraud accounted for 3.4 billion dollars in losses in 2018, up from 3 billion dollars in 2017. Student loans, mortgages, car loans, and credit cards are among the most common targets for new account fraud.
9. Account takeovers are up 79%
This number in 2017 was 380,000 to 679,000 in 2018, clearly, this number is increasing big time. Individuals and enterprises are at risk for account takeovers.
10. Who is most at risk for identity theft?
These crimes tend to be opportunistic and Identity thieves often target those who are more prone to not regularly check for identity theft warnings signs and are unlikely to report a regular activity on their credit reports. And as you may have guessed that demographic falls on children and senior citizens.
Reported Fraud and Losses by Age:
These numbers are staggering and only getting worse, especially for those that are more vulnerable. Based on these statistics I'm genuinely surprised that there are not more public awareness advertisements. So you really have to take it upon yourself to protect your identity anyway you can.
11. Identity theft Categories
For 2019 the identity theft types range from seven different categories, the first category holding the most reports is “credit card fraud”, which in 2019 had to 271,823 reports. Number two on the list is “Other identity theft” which has 215,682 reports. Third on the identity theft types is “loan or lease fraud” 104,699 reports.
The fourth one on the list is, “phone or utility fraud” at 83,535 reports. At number five, we have “bank fraud” which had 58,723 reports filed. At number six, we have “employment or tax-related fraud” at 45,564 reports. And finally number 7, there is government documents or benefits fraud that had 23,052 reports filed. Knowing this information can better prepare you for these types of crimes and to stay vigilant at all costs.
Top 10 Fraud Categories
The top 10 fraud categories for 2019 are as follows:
Imposter scams are ranked number one having 647,472 reports filed With a total loss of $667 million dollars.
Telephone and mobile service scams with 186,022 reports filed and total losses equaling to $30 million dollars.
Online shopping and negative reviews with 173,310 filed reports and $136 million dollars in losses.
Prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries fraud with 124,841 filed reports and a total of $121 million dollars in losses.
Internet Service fraud which had 70,852 filed reports and $56 million dollars in losses.
travel, vacations, and timeshare plan fraud. This category had 34,695 filed reports and $105 million dollars in losses.
Foreign money offers and counterfeit check scams which has 31, 146 filed reports and a total of $34 million dollars in losses.
Business and job opportunity scams With 27, 569 filed reports and a total of $85 million dollars and losses.
Healthcare fraud with 20,592 reported claims and a total of 8 million dollars in losses.
Advanced payments for Credit Services with 17,408 filed reports and $23 million dollars in losses.
Knowing where these criminals are targeting gives us the knowledge to armor ourselves with the precautionary measures as needed. Unfortunately, the problem is getting worse and people that are most vulnerable are being targeted with an emphasis.
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