Identity fraud incidents declined significantly in the United States in 2010, but now is not the time to let your guard down.
So-called “friendly fraud” Ã¢â‚¬“ fraud perpetrated by people known to the victim, such as a relative or roommate Ã¢â‚¬“ grew seven percent last year, according to Javelin Research & StrategyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s recently released 2011 Identity Fraud Survey Report.
People in the 25-34 age group are most likely to be victims of friendly fraud, mostly by having their Social Security number (SSN) stolen (41 percent).
The increase in friendly fraud is also contributing to a significant rise in consumer out-of-pocket costs.
While overall fraud declined in 2010, the mean consumer out-of-pocket cost due to identity fraud increased 63 percent from $387 in 2009 to $631 per incident in 2010, Javelin said.
The findings give us pause for thought.
JavelinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s advice? Keep personal data private and donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t overshare on social networks.
In 2010, 14 percent of all identity fraud crimes were committed by someone previously known to the victim when the method was known.
People also like to connect with friends and acquaintances on social networks, but sometimes they share too much information.
Javelin research found that 36 percent of people aged 65+ do not use the privacy settings on their network potentially exposing crucial information to fraudsters. (The good news is that 89 percent of 25-34 year olds were actively using the privacy settings on social network sites.)
As for overall fraud trends, in 2010 the number of identity fraud victims declined by 28 percent to 8.1 million adults in the U.S., three million fewer victims than the prior year. Total annual fraud dropped to $37 billion from $56 billion Ã¢â‚¬“ the smallest amount in the eight years of the study.
Stepped-up prevention efforts by businesses, increased security measures and economic conditions contributed to the year-over-year decline, Javelin said.
Check out I.I.I. info on ID theft.