2010 Identity Theft Statistics Released

The 2011 Identity Fraud Survey Report by Javelin was just released, and it shows new trends in identity theft. While the report states that identity theft cases have decreased overall, it is costing consumers more time and money. The good news is that the drive to increase awareness about identity theft is working.

Meanwhile, consumer costs, the average out-of-pocket dollar amount victims pay, increased, reversing a downward trend in recent years. This increase can be attributed to new account fraud, which showed longer periods of misuse and detection and therefore more dollar losses associated with it than any other type of fraud. – Javelin Strategy & Research

The cost to resolve identity fraud issues rose dramatically in 2010 because there was a change in the type of fraud that was being committed. New Account fraud is on the rise and this is the hardest type to detect and costs the victim the most. The majority of thieves who use friendly fraud, where they target friends and relatives they know, are able to do a lot of damage by setting up new accounts in the victim’s name. Since the victim has no idea that they are a victim, they can continue to use their identity longer, which racks up more financial theft.  

Rising problems include account takeover, friendly fraud, and people failing to use privacy settings on social networks. Too few consumers are failing to protect their data, ranging from lack of anti-malware software on personal devices, mailing paper checks or financial statements, and weak online passwords. Individuals need to do a better job monitoring their personal information (limit what you give when opening new accounts) and monitoring current accounts with text and email alerts for money spent and other transactions.

Javelin found that 48% of all reported identity fraud cases were first detected by consumers, which reinforces that we need to monitor our accounts regularly.  Another important way to protect yourself it to order, review, and know what is on your credit report. You can do this at least 3 times a year for free.  Consumers can request a copy of their credit report from one of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies through

John Sileo’s motivational keynote speeches train organizations to play aggressive information offense before the attack, whether that is identity theft, data breach, cyber crime, social networking exposure or human fraud. Learn more at or call him directly on 800.258.8076.

Javelin Identity Theft & Identity Fraud 2009 Survey

A few weeks ago, Javelin Safety & Research  released its comprehensive survey on Identity Theft & Fraud for the fifth consecutive year.

Let me boil it down to the Top 5 Identity Theft Findings that impact you (and my comments and opinions in parentheses):

  1. Overall Identity Fraud Incidents Increased in the United States (the problem is getting worse as the economy sinks and people turn to crime to pay their bills)
  2. Costs to Consumers are Down (businesses are being forced to take greater responsibility for the liabilities and costs of identity theft – in other words, the burden is shifting from the consumer to corporate America)
  3. Fraudsters are Moving Much More Quickly (the crime of identity theft is moving from garden variety criminals into the hands of organized crime)
  4. Gender Disparity—Women were 26 percent more likely to be victims of identity fraud than men in 2008 (three factors: 1. women’s purses contain more identity; 2. women are less cynical and more trusting of others [a generalization that proves itself anecdotally in my identity theft speeches every week – it is much easier to get a purse from a woman than a wallet from a man]; 3. more women than men are responsible for household finances, putting them at higher risk of losing the data
  5. Low-tech Methods Still Most Popular (technology is an enabler of this crime, but not a root cause – see my post on this topic)

Conclusion? Identity theft isn’t going away – until we deal with it personally, in our corporate boardrooms and legislatively, it will continue to be America’s fastest growing crime.

For more information, check out the Javelin Press Release here:

You can download the entire Fraud Report 2009 here:

John Sileo, Identity Theft Speaker and Fan of Javelin’s Studies