Identity theft over the internet is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world today. It’s often seen as a victimless crime since there is no physical interaction between the criminal and the victim. Yet everyone who becomes a victim of this crime suffers a tremendous loss.
The average cost of just one internet identity theft incident is $3,500.
Internet Identity Theft
Identity theft is more common than many people realize. Large data loss incidents, such as the ones at Target and Home Depot, make the news because millions have their information compromised. A person’s daily activities places them at risk every day, whether it is shopping at Target or going online to make a car payment.
- Americans experienced financial losses of $50 billion every year because of identities that are stolen online.
- 7%. That’s the percentage of Americans that have had their identity stolen at least once.
- More than 100 million Americans have personal information online that places them at risk of having their identity stolen.
- 16.6 million. That’s the number of people who experienced identity theft in the year 2012, the last year of available data from the BJS.
- Identity theft cost Americans $10 billion more last year than all other property crimes in 2012.
- 85% of theft incidents involved the fraudulent use of existing accounts, rather than the use of somebody’s name to open a new account.
- Americans who were in households making $75,000 or more were more likely to experience identity theft than lower-income households.
- Identity theft scams account for an annual total loss of about $264.6 million.
The ways that someone can steal another’s identity today are numerous. From fraudulent tax returns to the opening of a new credit card in someone’s name to make a purchase, personal data is almost worth more than gold itself in the right hands. Although there are laws in place that limit some liability when accounts are stolen or fraudulently opened, the time it takes to repair that damage can be lengthy. Ultimately the biggest cost of identity theft isn’t the money, but the time that it takes from people.
What Increases The Chances of Identity Theft?
- Someone who has their personal information included in a data breach is 9.5x more likely to have their identity stolen compared to the general population.
- 1 in 40 households that have children will have at least one of their kids become a victim of identity theft.
- Households that make less than $35,000 per year are 5x more likely to be victims of identity theft than households making $100k per year.
- 17% of child victims of identity theft have their identities stolen for more than 1 year at a time.
- Consumers who had their Social Security number compromised in a data breach were 5x more likely to be a fraud victim than an average consumer.
- 15% of internet identity theft victims choose not to use smaller retailers online because of the incident.
- 1.5 million incidents of identity theft every year happen within the family or are close friends of the individual.
- Only 1 in 3 identity theft incidents online were picked up by the bank or card issuer that had an item used fraudulently.
For many people, the time commitment to an internet identity theft incident is less that 1 day. It’s an inconvenience more than anything else. For 3% of identity theft victims, however, they are still experiencing problems more than 6 months after the crime has been discovered. Considering it takes over 300 days for the average incident of identity theft to be discovered, that’s a potential of more than 18 months of problems. That’s why stopping identity theft now must become a top priority.
Stopping Identity Theft Is A Community Task
- Two-thirds of identity theft victims never know where the source of the crime is.
- More than 50% of victims were actively detecting fraud using financial alerts, credit monitoring, or identity protection services when their information was stolen.
- 1 in 2 identity theft incidents are found by the person who has become the victim of the crime.
- In a 24 month period, 5% of everyone above the age of 16 will become the victim of internet identity theft.
- 15% of identity theft incidents involve misusing personal information for identification purposes instead of financial fraud, such as during an arrest.
- The total amount of time that people have spent fixing internet identity theft problems: 297 million hours.
Identity theft on the internet can happen at any time. Oversharing on social networks, email scams, or a lost wallet can all lead to this problem. Know where you information is, only carry what you need, and don’t share any personal information unless absolutely necessary. This will help to limit identity theft risks.