Our identities are our most valuable personal possessions, but the latest identity theft statistics show that they are no longer confidential. The number of data breaches and identity thefts skyrocketed in 2020, as the pandemic made organizations, businesses, and people go more digital than ever.
How can we increase our safety as an increasing amount of sensitive data is transferred online and saved on the cloud?
The first step is getting informed about the dangers and the most common methods of identity theft.
Identity Theft Facts (Editor’s Choice)
- The FTC recorded over 4.8 million identity theft and fraud reports in 2020
- The total loss caused by identity scams and frauds reached $56 billion in 2020
- Identity theft regarding government benefits went up an astonishing 2917% in 2020
- In 2019, there were 348 data breaches in the US K-12 public school system
- A Walmart account with a credit card attached costs $14 on the Dark Web
- The Dark Web prices for social media accounts have dropped by 10% to 50% in 2021
- The number of mail theft reports has increased by 600% over the past three years
- Illegal immigrants contributed $100 billion to the national budget through using other peoples’ SSNs in the past decade
Identity Theft Facts 2020
2020 was very challenging for government organizations battling identity theft and fraud. Companies, organizations, medical facilities, and many others moved their communication with clients primarily online.
As a result, the quantity of sensitive information transferred that way increased dramatically. When combined with the Covid Stimulus program, which pumped trillions of dollars into the economy and personal accounts, it became a very enticing situation for cybercriminals.
1. The identity theft crime statistics show that total scams and fraud losses climbed to $56 billion in 2020.
Out of $56 billion, $43 billion in losses can be attributed to identity fraud scams. The difference between identity scams and traditional identity frauds is that the victims willingly interacted with scammers and divulged their personal data. That indicates a lack of awareness of where we are leaving sensitive information.
2. Traditional identity fraud brought $13 billion in losses in 2020.
According to the identity theft statistics, 2020 has been very lucrative for fraudsters. But, even though the overall losses skyrocketed, the impact of traditional identity frauds has decreased by 21% from 2019.
That shows that the fraudsters are slowly moving away from old methods and devising better ways to persuade victims to willingly give them the required information.
3. Identity theft reports concerning government benefits went up an astounding 2917% in 2020.
(Federal Trade Commission)
The increase is mainly due to the exploitation of the federal Covid-19 relief program. Statistics of identity theft say that scammers most commonly claim to represent government agencies. They ask for personal and financial information, pretending to help people collect benefits or navigate the bureaucracy.
4. Almost half of the consumers in the US experienced identity theft in the past two years.
A recent study showed that 47% of US consumers surveyed fell or nearly fell victims of identity theft. Of those, 37% suffered application fraud, for example, someone tried to use their identity to open an account, and 38% experienced an attempted or successful account takeover.
5. FTC identity theft statistics show that there were 4.8 million identity theft and fraud reports in 2020.
(Insurance Information Institute)
There was a 45% increase in 2020 from 3.3 million identity thefts in 2019. Mostly, it was due to the 113% identity theft complaints increase. Furthermore, almost a third of these complaints involved government benefits. The federal stimulus payments were the most popular Covid-19 scam.
6. Kansas residents are ten times more likely to become victims of identity theft than Alaska residents.
(Insurance Information Institute, The Wichita Eagle)
The identity theft statistics by state show that Kansas has almost 1500 identity thefts per 100,000 residents. The total number of reports in 2020 came to 43,211.
That is a 1,802% increase from 2019, and it’s the highest in the US. 88% of the reports were classified as government documents or benefits fraud.
Illinois and Massachusetts follow Kansas with 1066 and 661 reports per 100,000 residents, respectively. Conversely, Alaska is the safest state on the list, with just 96 reported cases per 100,000 residents.
Identity Theft Statistics 2021
Even though the government institutions are putting on extra efforts to battle identity theft and fraud, the latest data doesn’t look promising. With the economy recovering, there are more opportunities for criminals to exploit. Let’s take a look at the latest data.
7. The Dark Web prices for hacked social media accounts have dropped between 10% and 50% in 2021.
Social media identity theft statistics show that the prices for stolen accounts are dropping. A hacked Facebook account went from $75 to $65, Instagram $55 to $45, and Twitter $49 to $35. The price of Gmail profiles went down most significantly — from $156 to $80.
8. Cloned American Express with PIN has a 30% higher price than VISA or MasterCard on the black market.
With a cost of $35, American Express is the priciest card on Dark Web. But the identity theft statistics indicate that Mastercard might catch up. It had a significant price increase, from $15 to $25 in the last year. On the other hand, the value of VISA cards remained as the previous year — $25.
9. The US identity theft insurance market is worth $249 million.
The growth rate of the theft insurance market is very low, just 0.2% per year since 2016. Furthermore, a 0.7% drop in 2021 is expected, despite the increased risks we are all facing. We may not know how to prevent identity theft, but we can insure ourselves.
10. 49% of the people under 40 are concerned more about identity theft than before the pandemic.
People over 40 are slightly less worried, with just 37% believing that their habits during the pandemic made them an easier mark.
In addition, people under 40 are more prone to trusting biometric security features. 48% of them believe it’s a good way to fight against increased identity theft trends, compared to only 37% of those over 40.
11. Your Walmart account with a credit card attached is worth $14 on the Dark Web.
The prices of personal information on the Dark Web are fluctuating depending on the demand, and the price for Walmart accounts has increased by $4 since 2020.
The coronavirus pandemic brought on many changes in the way we live and shop. As more and more transactions are conducted online, your Walmart account has become a hot commodity.
Online Identity Theft Statistics
The two most common ways to steal identities online are scams and thefts and hacking into large databases.
Although data breaches don’t happen that often as identity thefts, they are more significant — the number of people affected in each one can be from hundreds of thousands to even millions.
12. Data breaches have increased by 38% in the second quarter of 2021.
With almost 1.4 million identity theft cases, 2020 was a record-breaker. There were also 1001 data breaches in the same year, with 155.8 million users affected and their personal information divulged.
The 2021 data doesn’t look promising. With 846 data breaches in the first half alone, the final number will be much higher than 2020.
13. In 2019 there were 348 data breaches in the US K-12 public school system.
The latest data shows that over one million children were victims of identity theft in 2017, resulting in $560 million in damages to their families. There is no doubt that the 2020 data breaches will make the child identity theft statistics look even grimmer.
14. Around 15% of data breaches in 2020 happened in healthcare.
(Insurance Information Institute)
Out of 1108 confirmed data breaches in 2020, the most significant number of 162 occurred in the healthcare sector. One of the consequences of the pandemic is that more people turned to medical facilities and gave them personal and sensitive information that could be compromised.
15. Medical identity theft statistics show data breaches in the healthcare industry increased by 58% in 2020.
More and more medical facilities create web portals to interact with clients and patients, and consequently, more sensitive information is transferred online than ever. That makes them a tempting target for cyber-criminals.
77% of the cyber attacks against healthcare in 2020 were conducted to get personal info, and in 67% of them, attackers also stole medical information. Identity theft victim statistics show that 18% of these attacks had the goal of acquiring medical credentials.
16. 40% of US businesses will make investing in fraud detection their top priority.
That is, however, less than in Europe or South America. For instance, 52% of German and 66% of Brazilian companies plan to prioritize fraud detection.
The US percentages are baffling, to say the least, considering that 44% of US customers say they are worried about their online privacy and safety, compared to only 23% in Europe.
Interesting Statistics About Identity Theft
17. Illegal immigrants contributed $100 billion to the national budget through identity theft in the past decade.
(New American Economy, Marketplace)
Undocumented employees usually use a false or someone else’s SSN when applying for salaried positions. As a result, they’ve contributed $100 billion to the national budget in the last decade without receiving any benefits. These scams are primarily used to ensure employment.
18. There was a 225% increase in tax-related and employment fraud in the first three quarters of 2020.
(Experian, Federal Trade Commission)
After an 80% drop from 677,000 to 137,000 between 2015 to 2019, the numbers rose again in 2020. Tax identity theft statistics show that by the end of the third quarter of 2020, there were 92,620 reports of tax-related identity theft.
That is an astounding 225% increase from the same period in 2019. All the criminals need to make a false tax report to collect the refund is your full name, birth date, and SSN and incriminate you.
19. The data from IRS identity theft statistics shows that it saved $26 billion by preventing confirmed identity theft tax returns.
(IRS, Federal Trade Commission)
The IRS constantly increases its efforts to battle tax-related identity thefts. Besides the $26 billion they’ve protected, its financial sector associates recovered another $1.7 billion in fraudulent tax refunds.
20. The number of mail theft reports has increased by 600% over the past three years.
There is a significant rise in mail thefts from around 25,000 in 2017 to about 177,000 through the first three quarters of 2020, and there is no doubt that it will affect mail identity theft statistics.
The robbers have given up on robbing individual mailboxes on the streets and are stealing directly from the post offices in bulk and sometimes even in broad daylight.
21. The number of convictions related to mail identity theft has decreased by 2%, even though the number of mail thefts is increasing rapidly.
According to the US Postal Inspection Service 2020 report, there were 480 mail fraud and 1278 mail theft cases, which led to 2587 arrests and 2462 convictions. To illustrate, the numbers for 2018 are 405 mail fraud and 1356 mail theft cases, which led to 2512 convictions.
One of the most troubling facts about the theft of sensitive data in the mail is that even though the theft number skyrocketed, the number of cases and arrests remains the same.
22. During mid-2020, there was one thievery attempt on mail carriers every 83 hours.
The Postal Police incident reports for 83 days from March to September 2020 show 24 cases of thieves attempting or succeeding to steal mail from carriers and their vehicles. On average, this is one every three and a half days.
Identity Theft Statistics — Worldwide Trends
The US is not the only one affected by this surge in identity theft. As more and more companies, organizations, and government institutions around the world are going digital to accommodate a higher number of clients, it is opening new opportunities for criminals to steal sensitive data and identities.
23. 1% of EU residents reported having financial losses due to identity theft, fraudulent messages, or false website redirection.
Eurostat published a report with the latest identity theft facts and figures, and it reveals that 26% of EU citizens have received fraudulent messages. The fraudsters tried to obtain information, such as usernames and passwords for email accounts and login information for e-banking.
Furthermore, 13% of EU residents were redirected to false websites where they were asked to disclose personal information.
24. The number of identity theft reports in Australia increased by 90% in 2020, compared to 2019.
To put things in perspective, there were 11,000 reports in 2019 and 20,940 in 2020. Unfortunately, the numbers for 2021 don’t look promising, as the authorities received almost 13,000 identity theft reports by the end of July.
Moreover, when it comes to the victims of identity theft, statistics show that their financial loss this year is higher, $5,1 million, compared to three million in 2020.
25. The number of identity theft and fraud reports in the UK increased by 11% in the first half of 2021.
The National Fraud Database UK reports that the number of cases is again rising after it declined in 2020 due to reduced economic activity. In 2021, it reached 180,000 cases in the first six months.
Identity theft facts and statistics show that there is much more activity and more opportunities for criminals even though the economy is recovering. The same pattern was observed after the 2008 world financial crisis.
26. More than 27 million Indians have been victims of identity theft in the past 12 months.
Norton, the famous cybersecurity company, recently published its research on identity theft in 2021. Based on the findings, the company’s experts estimate that over 27 million Indian citizens fell victims to identity theft in the last 12 months.
Besides these statistics on identity theft, the report also implies that almost 120 million Indians have experienced cybercrime attacks.
27. The fraud attempt instances using stolen identities have increased by 218% in Canada’s financial sector, the 2021 data suggest.
Transunion recently published its findings on fraud attempts against companies in the financial sector. Through the last quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, Canada’s number of fraud attempts has increased by 218%, and the most common type was using a stolen identity.
Identity Theft Statistics — The Bottom Line
Identity theft is difficult to detect as the victims have no idea that it has been stolen, so it’s not reported on time. That gives the crooks plenty of time to devise a course of action and use the stolen identity to the max.
The victims find out about the theft only when they receive a bank statement, declined tax return form, bad credit report, or similar. One of the most disturbing facts about identity theft is that the consequences are not just financial loss but can also damage our health, business, social status, etc.
Although there is no such thing as complete protection, we can still make ourselves a less easy mark. Regular credit and background checks on suspicious individuals, and being careful about where you give away your personal data are great first steps.
Furthermore, being aware of the most common ways of scamming online can help you prevent it. Another additional step is acquiring one of the finest ID Theft Protection services.
People Also Ask
Identity theft and fraud refer to cases when an individual obtains someone else’s personal information and uses it to commit fraudulent actions. Most often, the reason is personal economic gain.
For example, the thieves may use this personal information to file tax returns, get medical services, apply for credit, etc. Besides causing financial loss, these frauds can also damage your credit, ruin your social status, and similar.
It’s hard to determine the exact percentage of US citizens who fell victim to identity theft because it’s a crime that we are often not aware of and don’t report to the authorities.
The Federal Trade Commission has received 4.8 million identity theft and fraud reports in 2020, making up about 1.5% of the US population. On the other hand, research done by Aite Group revealed that 47% of Americans were victims of identity theft in 2019 and 2020.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, there were 4.8 million identity theft and fraud cases. Of that number, 1.23 million were strictly identity thefts.
It is worth mentioning that many identity thefts go unnoticed and are not reported. That means that the actual number is probably much higher. To illustrate — in 2020, there were 1108 confirmed data breaches, with more than 300 million records exposed.
In 2020, there were 4.8 million reported identity thefts and frauds in the US, a 45% increase from 2019. The Federal Trade Commission only keeps track of reported identity thefts. Considering that many identity thefts go unnoticed for quite a while, we can assume the actual number is much higher.
According to OpSec Security, 86% of global consumers have experienced identity theft and fraud. The identity theft statistics show that this type of crime is on the rise, as more sensitive information is transferred online than ever.