Traditional forms of theft, such as being mugged on the street or being the victim of a home invasion, still exist.
However, in the modern digital age, there is a much bigger threat, that’s identity theft.
Cybercriminals are experts at stealing identities, although it is possible to steal someone’s identity without going online.
It’s no longer enough to watch your post, and check that people aren’t raiding your rubbish bins.
Today, cybercriminals can hack your computer and steal enough information to adopt your identity.
It’s even possible to glean enough information from social media, no hacking is required! This issue is increasingly likely to affect you, anyone can be a target.
Naturally, you’ll want to avoid being the victim of identity theft.
The following identity theft statistics can be scary.
However, being aware of them and understanding how to protect yourself will make it easier to avoid being a victim of identity theft.
Key Identity Theft Statistics
- Approximately 1 in 10 people will be a victim of identity theft
- 1.43 million people has their identities stolen in 2021
- 34% of Identity thefts are associated with credit card theft
- Total losses due to identity theft in 2023 are estimated to reach $10.2 billion
- Identity theft accounted for 25% of all reported scams in 2021
- You’re 30% more likely to be a victim of identity theft if you regularly use social media
- In 2021 as many as 22,833 victims of identity theft were under 19
- 1 in 10 victims of identity theft don’t want to file a report or for police to take action
Detailed Identity Theft Statistics 2024
1. One in Ten People Are Victims Of Identity Theft
The increase in online activity has made it easier than ever for anyone to be targeted by cybercriminals.
They are difficult to trace but can surprisingly easily access the information they need.
Current estimates suggest that as many as one in ten people are a victim of identity theft.
If that wasn’t alarming enough, 21% of identity theft victims have been targeted more than once.
2. 1.43 Million People Had Their Identities Stolen In 2023
In 2021 the FTC reported that consumer identity theft complaints increased by 3.3% on 2020, with a total of 1.43 million complaints.
These complaints are specifically related to consumers that have had their personal information stolen and then used to get loans, credit cards, or even bank accounts.
It’s a huge issue and one that appears to be getting worse each year.
3. Credit card Theft Is Linked With 34% Of Identity Thefts
Credit card fraud occurs when your identity has been stolen and the details have been used to obtain a credit card.
The card limit is quickly used, leaving the individual out of pocket.
Of course, if it’s reported you’ll be liable for very little or none of the amount.
However, you have to be vigilant to notice the issue and report it.
If you don’t the credit card company won’t cover your bill, you’ll have to do that yourself.
Interestingly, this is the most common type of identity theft.
Others are tax identity theft – in just over 18% of cases, and utility fraud in 12.5% of cases.
Bank fraud occurs in 11.4% of cases and loan fraud in just 6.8%.
(Theft Resource Center)
4. Identity Theft Losses In 2023 Top $10 Billion
Identity theft is increasing in popularity for one good reason, it’s lucrative.
While the average individual only stands to lose $500 when their identity is stolen, this is simply the maximum you’ll be personally liable for.
The biggest losers are financial institutions, including banks and credit card companies.
It’s estimated that losses to the institutions in connection with identity theft are $10.2 billion and rising every year.
5. 25% Of All reported Scams Are Identity Theft
Every year there are more cases of identity theft. In 2021 there was a 3% increase on 2020.
This figure will increase every year as more people conduct business online, whether socially or professionally.
Identity theft is likely to be the most common type of fraud in a few years. At the moment, 25% of all fraud claims are related to identity theft.
That’s a staggering 1.4 million claims a year. (as mentioned earlier).
6. Regular Social Media Users Are 30% More Likely To Be Victims Of Identity Theft
It’s not surprising that social media users are more likely to become victims of identity theft.
Most victims post an inordinate amount of personal information online, it’s surprisingly easy to access, especially if the account isn’t private/
The greater your social media presence and activity the more likely it is you’ll be targeted by cybercriminals.
Surveys show that regular social media users are 30% more likely to become identity theft victims.
You’re particularly at risk if you use Facebook, Snapchat, and even Instagram a lot.
People registered on these sites are 46% more likely to be a victim of identity theft in comparison with someone not active on social media.
7. In 2021, 22,833 Identity Theft Victims Were Under 19
This is an alarming statistic as you would like to assume that the younger generation is more computer-savvy and, therefore, less likely to be victims of identity theft.
However, the majority of the younger generation spends more time on the internet than older generations. They are also generally more naive.
This is the generation that needs educating first or they are likely to suffer from identity theft repeatedly.
8. One in Ten Victims Don’t Want To File A Police Report
If you don’t file a police report you will struggle to claim the money back from your card company and may end up being liable for a significant sum.
Sadly, as many as one in ten victims of identity theft don’t file reports as they are too embarrassed to do so. Even if that costs them financially.
How To prevent Identity Theft
Once you realize how common identity theft is you’ll want to take the appropriate steps to reduce your personal risk.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do.
Secure Your Details
The first step is to consider what personal details are easily accessible.
For example, if you have a social media account and the account is public, what details are on display?
To check, simply go onto social media and look at your account as though you’re a visitor, not the account holder.
Any personal data needs to be hidden or removed.
Alongside this, make sure your social security number is kept in a safe place and no one else knows it, with the exception of your partner.
This is a key document for stealing identities.
You should never give your social security number to someone without checking why they need it and what they are using it for.
Connect Via A VPN
A surprising number of people think that it is safe to connect to financial accounts and social media from a free public Wi-Fi network. It’s not.
A hacker can easily access your device through the connection and backtrace it to find out all your personal information.
The safest option is to invest in a VPN. This can be added to your home computer and all mobile devices.
It protects your device, and effectively ensures hackers can’t locate your physical address.
Consider Freezing Credit
A lot of people don’t realize that they can freeze their credit records.
You simply have to contact the major credit bureaus. That’s Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
Freezing your records means that no one can look at them to perform credit checks.
That means no new credit will be offered as the financial institution won’t be able to check your credit status.
You can freeze and unfreeze as often as you like and it doesn’t cost anything.
Alongside freezing it’s a good idea to check your credit reports regularly.
There are several services you can sign up for that will give you a weekly update on your credit card report.
Signing up means you’ll be able to see if a new loan or other unusual activity appears on your file. It won’t stop the identity theft but it will allow you to deal with it faster.
Avoid Clicking On Links
It’s common to get messages from banks and other financial institutions telling you about the latest product or some other potentially interesting offer.
However, these emails will not usually provide a link to access your account and, even if they do, you shouldn’t use it.
Cybercriminals can send you emails that look like the real thing but have false links in.
You follow the link and enter your login details and the cybercriminal gets your login details. It’s known as phishing.
The best way to avoid it and protect yourself from identity theft is to never click on a link.
Instead, type the financial institution into the internet yourself.
Create Strong Passwords & Change Them Often
If someone is trying to get your information they will need to crack your password.
This is much harder if you’ve chosen a strong password.
All your passwords should be at least 8 characters long, 12 is better.
They should use upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Most importantly, the combination should be random, making it very difficult to guess.
It’s also a good idea to change your password regularly. This helps prevent anyone from hacking it.
In addition, have a different password for every account.
Despite living in a digital age you probably still get a variety of paperwork delivered to your home.
It’s important to remember that any paperwork with your name and address on can be used by criminals to identify your personal information and then steal your identity.
The only safe way to dispose of documents with personal details on them is to shred them.
You will need to make sure that the shredder is a good quality one.
Ideally it should shred a document vertically and horizontally.
Looking at identity theft statistics can be frightening. It’s amazing how many people are victims every year.
There’s a good chance that you know someone who has been a victim.
However, knowledge is power.
Having discovered the most concerning statistics and the best things to do to reduce the risk of identity theft you’ll be able to take steps and avoid becoming one of the statistics.
In fact, if everyone was a little more attentive to these steps, the identity theft statistics would plummet.
It’s much harder to steal someone’s identity if you can’t access their personal information.