Identity Theft Statistics: Why You Should Be Alarmed
Read more about Identity Theft Protection: Protect Your Good Name
Fraudsters are getting wiser and have more tools at their disposal to steal personal identities. Someone could be using your private data right now – your Social Security number and tidbits about you from social media sites – to sign up for a credit card under your name. Worse, they could be using this information to hack into your bank accounts.
Unfortunately, identity theft has become more common in recent years and may not abate if consumers don’t take steps to protect themselves. Through various surveys, CreditDonkey.com has found consumers continue to make mistakes, such as openly sharing critical passwords with outsiders, which put them at undue risk for identity theft.
We've gathered the most current statistics, news, and resources about all too frequent Internet scams and stolen security codes.
What are the most current, surprising statistics about identity theft
66% of consumers who have had fraudulent charges were the first to notice them – not their financial institution, according to a CreditDonkey.com survey.
Identity theft was the #1 complaint category in the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, with 18% of the overall complaints, followed by debt collection (10%) and banks and lenders (6%).
Crooks are misusing the information for a shorter period of time, making them harder to catch. Consumer information was misused for an average of 48 days in 2012, down from 55 days in 2011 and 95 days in 2010, according to a Javelin Strategy & Research 2013 Identity Fraud Report.
1 in 4 who have received a data breach letter became a victim of identity theft and fraud, according to Javelin.
Who is most at risk for identity theft?
When & where are consumers most susceptible to identity theft?
On social media
On shopping and account websites
On the smartphone
How can consumers avoid and fight identity theft in 2013?
Keep an eye on your credit reports and those of your children. Some paid services, such as TransUnion’s, will put identifying information, like your child’s Social Security number, on a monitoring service. For the highest enforcement group, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. The IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039, permits the IRS to mark a potential victim of identity theft and tag a tax account to identify questionable activity.
Equifax's IdentityProtection.com provides educational resources, expert tips, stories from real-life ID theft victims, and information on tax, medical, and child identity theft. The site also sells Equifax's ID protection services.
Other helpful resources:
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