Identity Fraud Incidents Continue Upward Trend

One million more consumers became victims of identity fraud in 2012, and the dollar amount stolen rose to $21 billion –  the highest level since 2009.

The 2013 Identity Fraud Report by Javelin Strategy & Research found 12.6 million victims of identity fraud in the United States in the past year, which equates to 1 victim every 3 seconds.

The report also found that nearly 1 in 4 data breach letter recipients became a victim of identity fraud, which is the highest rate since 2010. This underscores the need for consumers to take all notifications seriously, Javelin said.

Breaches involving social security numbers were the most damaging. The study found consumers who had their social security number compromised in a data breach were five times more likely to be a fraud victim than an average consumer.

The good news is that companies appear to be responding more quickly to incidence of fraud. The study found a consumer’s information is being misused for an average of 48 days in 2012, down from 55 days in 2011 and 95 days in 2010.

Misuse time was down for all types of fraud including fraud on cards, loans, bank accounts, mobile phone bills as well as other types.

Small businesses in particular  are losing out to fraud as victims become more selective where they shop after an incident. The study found that 15 percent of all fraud victims decided to change behaviors and avoid smaller online merchants after an incident.

Check out I.I.I. info on identity theft here.

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