Not long ago, when we would think about theft, we would visualize someone robbing a house or being mugged on the street. Of course, these are far from harmless crimes, but the actual harmful one was at least evident. The trouble with identity theft is that you don't realize you're at risk until it's too late. As technology evolves to keep people secure, thieves adapt in partners, becoming increasingly skilled at identity theft.
According to Aite Group's latest research, U.S. Identity Theft: The Stark Reality, 47% of Americans have suffered financial identity theft by 2020, according to the IACT. Furthermore, according to the group's analysis, losses from identity theft cases totaled $502.5 billion in 2019 and are expected to rise 42% to $712.4 billion in 2020. According to the organization, the massive spike was spurred by the pandemic's high rate of jobless identity theft, as enhanced and prolonged unemployment benefits made the sector an appealing target for fraudsters.
In the last two years, 37% of customers have been victims of application fraud, and 38% have been victims of account takeovers. In 2020, the most vulnerable customers were between the ages of 35 and 44, accounting for 30% of all identity theft victims. The findings are based on an online poll of 8,653 U.S. consumers aged 18 and above conducted in December 2020.
The pandemic contributed to some of the growth. Last year, there were 323,920 reports of COVID-19 fraud, a figure that has subsequently risen to over 500,000. This figure presumably emphasizes COVID-19's influence, as the pandemic indirectly increased certain sorts of fraud and identity theft. Criminals stole motivation cheques and unemployment benefits, causing government benefits fraud to increase.
Who is the Most Vulnerable to Identity Theft?
The majority of identity thieves are motivated by greed. Identity thieves frequently target people who do not routinely monitor their credit reports for symptoms of identity theft and are unlikely to disclose unusual activity on their credit reports.
Children and the Elderly
Everyone with a Social Security number is vulnerable to identity theft, but two populations are particularly vulnerable: the very young and the very elderly.
Children are targeted as identity crooks who may build a phony "clean slate" using a child's Social Security numeral. Identity theft experts recommend parents check their children's credit reports for identity theft regularly, just as they do their own. Seniors are most often targeted over the phone and through online phishing methods. According to research, people grow more trustworthy as they age, which explains why older persons have a harder time detecting scammers.
Service Members in the Military
Active-duty personnel of the military forces is especially vulnerable to identity theft while deployed since they may not detect errors on their credit reports or get calls from debt collectors over a bogus charge. According to FTC studies, government papers or benefits fraud and credit card fraud are the most common problems for military customers.
Users of Social Media
Cybercriminals may easily learn a person's name, date of birth, phone number, birthplace, and other sensitive information by using social media and networking sites. An identity thief can use this information to target victims for phishing and impostor schemes. Last year, the FTC received 14,086 claims of email or social media identity theft, a 36% rise from the previous year.
Posting a photo of a "proof of vaccination" card on social media became widespread in 2021. This gives the whole name and birthday, which is enough information for a cybercriminal to get started. Fraudsters are still at work, according to the FTC, inventing schemes that perpetuate virus-related anxiety. Texts and robocalls about vaccinations, COVID-19 treatments, and antibody testing are common.
In the first year of the epidemic, hundreds of fake websites were brought down by the U.S. Department of Justice, but many more remain to live. These websites frequently masquerade as official institutions or humanitarian organizations, promising personal protection equipment, relief funds, and other benefits. They appear real, so it's tempting to click, but doing so gives hackers the ability to launch phishing email campaigns and implant malware, all in an attempt to obtain personal and private information.