Cybersecurity and Identity Theft
As businesses increasingly depend on electronic data and computer networks to conduct their daily operations, growing pools of personal and financial information are being transferred and stored online. This can leave individuals exposed to privacy violations and financial institutions and other businesses exposed to potentially enormous liability, if and when a breach in data security occurs.
In 2000 the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance joined together to create the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) to monitor Internet-related criminal complaints. In 2013 the IC3 received and processed 262,813 complaints, averaging about 22,000 complaints per month. The IC3 reports that 119,457 of these complaints involved a dollar loss and puts total dollar losses at $782 million. The most common complaints received in 2013 included auto auction, real estate and FBI impersonation email scams.
Consumer Fraud and Identity Theft
The increase in online shopping in recent years has created new avenues for identity thieves. However, a 2013 study by Travelers Insurance of its 2011 identity fraud claims found that burglary and theft of physical objects led to the majority of identity fraud claims. The study identified the following four top causes of identity fraud:
- Stolen wallet or purse (44 percent)
- Auto burglary (16 percent)
- Online (15 percent)
- Home burglary (12 percent)
The Consumer Sentinel Network, maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), tracks consumer fraud and identity theft complaints that have been filed with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and private organizations. Of the over 2 million complaints received in 2013, 55 percent were related to fraud, 14 percent were related to identity theft and 31 percent were for other consumer complaints. The FTC identifies 30 types of complaints. In 2013, for the 14th year in a row, identity theft was the number one type of complaint among the 30 categories, accounting for about 290,000 complaints, followed by debt collection, with about 205,000 complaints. Internet services, with about 50,000 complaints, ranked eleventh.
IDENTITY THEFT AND FRAUD COMPLAINTS, 2011-2013 (1)
HOW VICTIMS' INFORMATION IS MISUSED, 2013 (1)
IDENTITY THEFT BY STATE, 2013