Identity Theft Statistics for 2021

It seems like yesterday when the term “theft” evoked images of house invasions or street muggings. While far from harmless, these were at least visible evils. With ID theft, comparable hazards remain unseen.

We’ve witnessed great progress in the digital realm. But as our online tools get more powerful, so does the threat posed by cybercrimes, such as identity theft.

Identity theft statistics may make you nervous, but understanding the numbers behind them is our best chance of remaining safe.

Let’s dive right in.

Astonishing Identity Theft Statistics to Keep in Mind in 2021

  • Overall, 33% of US citizens have suffered from identity theft, which is more than double the world average.
  • The Federal Trade Commission handled 1.4 million fraud reports, resulting in $1.48 billion in losses.
  • Identity theft affects one in every three Americans.
  • Over one million children identity theft incidents occurred in the US in 2020, resulting in $2.67 billion in losses.
  • Every year, almost 15 million Americans become victims of identity theft.
  • The most prevalent type of ID theft in the US is the theft of government papers or benefits.
  • The majority of ID theft victims are between the ages of 30 and 49.

Intriguing Identity Theft Statistics

The number of identity theft incidents is increasing year by year. We at HostingTribunal compiled this list of identity theft facts to help you understand how and why this continues to be an issue for individuals, businesses, and governments throughout the world.

1.  Identity theft costs Americans about $56 billion, showed data from 2020.

(Source: CNBC)

In 2020, over 49 million people became victims of identity fraud. Around $13 billion in damages were attributed to what is referred to as “traditional identity fraud.” This means that attackers take personally identifiable information and use it to their own advantage.

2. There were 2.2 million fraud reports in 2020.

(Source: FTC)

Consumers stated that they lost over $3.3 billion to fraud in 2020, up from $1.8 billion in 2019. According to the FTC identity theft report, imposter scams were the most common type of fraud during that period. 

3. In 2016, every two seconds, someone became a victim of ID theft in the US.

(Source: Clark)

How often does identity theft occur? It’s certainly more than you think. And the numbers are rising every year.

In the US alone, over one million identity theft incidents occurred in 2020. If this doesn’t convince you you have to take measures to protect your online data, nothing will.

4. Identity theft affected one out of every four older adults in 2020.

(Source: AARP)

This group includes individuals aged 55 and above. One explanation for these identity theft stats is that elderly individuals usually aren’t very tech-savvy and can’t tell the difference between a legitimate website and a fake one.

5. 33% of American respondents in a 2018 identity theft research reported being the victim of this cybercrime.

(Source: Proof Point)

This is more than three times the number of responders from Germany and France and more than double the world average.

According to these online identity theft statistics, US respondents also shared their social check-ins more frequently than other worldwide users, exposing more of their personal information to cyber thieves.

6. Credit card fraud was the most popular kind of identity theft in 2019.

(Source: FTC)

The Federal Trade Commission received over 271,000 reports from individuals who stated that their information was used to open new credit card accounts illegally or that their existing account was misused.

7. People with active social media accounts are 30% more likely to become victims of identity fraud than other internet users.

(Source: Business News Daily)

This happens mainly because hackers are actively seeking targets via these channels.

Identity theft crime statistics also show that Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram account holders are exposed to even greater risk, with 46%.

8. Government documents or benefits were the most common form of ID theft in the US in 2020.

(Source: FTC)

What is the most common identity theft in the US?

Identity theft data by nation show that the majority of such events in the United States are related to government papers or benefits, accounting for 406,375 occurrences.

This is followed by credit card fraud (393,207) and other types of identity theft (353,152). With 99,539 and 89,476 reports, respectively, bank fraud and phone or utility fraud take the sixth and seventh places.

Online Identity Theft Cases

There are millions of people affected by identity theft across the world, causing huge financial, reputational, emotional, and psychological losses. Let’s look at a few stats that reveal who has identity theft affected the most.

9. 15 million US residents fall victim to identity theft annually.

(Source: Crime Museum)

Every year, around 15 million Americans have their identities stolen, resulting in financial losses of up to $50 billion.

This equates to around 7% of all adults, with each occurrence resulting in a loss of around $3,500.

10. 2.5 million identities of deceased people are stolen per year in the US.

(Source: Business Times)

Identity theft stats reveal that even the dead can become victims of cybercrime.

According to ID Analytics data, there are 800,000 incidents of criminals exploiting the identities of the deceased to open credit accounts and get cell phone service.

Twice as many identity thieves utilize fake Social Security Numbers that belong to people who have passed away.

11. One in five Europeans have experienced identity theft.

(Source: Financo)

According to recent cybercrime statistics, 56% of Europeans have been victims of at least one type of fraud in the previous two years. Identity theft was the second most prevalent cyber attack on the continent, with one-third of that 56% being victims.

The UK is the most vulnerable country in Western Europe, with 53% of respondents reporting ID theft. With a 50% share, Ireland comes in second, followed by Denmark, the Netherlands, and France, with 45%, 42%, and 39%, respectively.

12. Californians are the main target of identity theft.

(Source: FTC)

Recent identity theft statistics by state shows that 147,382 complaints were filed with the Federal Trade Commission from California State alone, making it the top target for cybercriminals.

Let’s take a look at the top five states with the most identity theft in the US.

  1. California: 147,382 cases
  2. Illinois: 135,038 cases
  3. Texas: 134,788 cases
  4. Florida: 101,367 cases
  5. Georgia: 69,487 cases

13. Millennials accounted for 33% of all identity fraud reports in the US.

Source (FTC)

In 2019, the (FTC) received more than 1.6 million fraud reports. People aged 20 to 29 accounted for 33% of the total, while people over 70 accounted for only 13%. The younger population reported losing more money to fraud more often than older people.

14. Out-of-pocket expenses for victims are estimated to be $1.7 billion.

(Source: Javelin Strategy)

According to recent identity theft research, the number of customers who were victims of identity fraud decreased to 14.4 million in 2018, down from a peak of 16.7 million in 2017.

The cost of out-of-pocket fraud, however, is more than double the amount from 2016 to 2018, reaching $1.7 billion.

ID Theft Victims

People of every age group have been victims of ID theft, causing millions of dollars in losses. Let’s take a quick look at some amazing stats showing the real impact of these crimes.

15. More than 1.3 million children are victims of identity theft.

(Source: Michigan State University)

According to a recent child identity theft study, more than 1.3 million children are victims of identity theft annually. 50% of these youngsters are under the age of six.

16. Families are expected to pay more than $540 million out of pocket.

(Source: GIZMODO)

Recent child ID theft statistics reveal that more than $2.6 billion in damages in 2017 may be ascribed to occurrences of cybercrime involving children. The cost of these incidents was more than $540 million.

While only 7% of adult victims know the perpetrator, this number rises to 60% with children!

17. In 2018, more than 87,000 medical and insurance-related ID fraud incidents occurred.

(Source: CNBC)

According to a recent medical identity theft stats report, this number accounts for more than a quarter of all recorded ID theft incidents.

The medical identity theft costs of the average victim approached $13,500 in 2015.

18. 92,620 employment or tax-related fraud was reported in the first three quarters of 2020.

(Source: Experian)

These identity theft stats come from the FTC consumer sentinel network, which analyzes consumer identity theft and fraud claims. This type of fraud was placed fifth among the seven categories of fraud examined by the FTC in its 2020 report.

19. New credit card account fraud complaints increased by 48% in one year.

(Source: Credit Cards)

According to credit card theft statistics, reports of new credit card account fraud increased by 48% from 2019 to 2020. The number of incidents with existing accounts, on the other hand, was down 4%.

The most common means of contact for fraud was over the phone, with an astounding 821,862 incidents. Websites were a distant second, accounting for only 99,215 of the fraud reports.

How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

Recent identity theft statistics have shown us that there is no running away from this type of crime. Not only does it cost you money, but it might damage your reputation as well.

Here are a few ways you can protect yourself from identity theft.

  • When using social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, think carefully before revealing certain types of information—even if these sites have confirmed security mechanisms in place to secure your data. This includes information, such as your birthdate, birthplace, phone number, and even the name of your pet.
  • Maintain the security of your personal information, especially your Social Insurance Number (SIN) and credit card and bank account details. Only provide personal details if you initiated the contact and are confident that you are dealing with the right individual.
  • According to recent fraud stats, 48% of people routinely lock their mobile devices. Use passwords on your electronic gadgets. When banking on your mobile device, use a banking app rather than a mobile browser.
  • To generate and save complicated, one-of-a-kind passwords for your accounts, use a password manager. Passwords should not be reused. An authenticator app can help you lower your risk.
  • Update your security, antivirus, spyware software, and your system.
  • When shopping online or in-store, utilize a digital wallet—an app that contains safe, digital copies of credit and debit cards.

Wrap Up

All of these identity theft stats may seem overwhelming, but the threat is genuine. These instances of cybercrime are sure to rise as more of our transactions shift online.

While you might be in a stew over these identity theft statistics right now, they might help you protect your privacy and online security if you take them seriously.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Branko is a round-the-clock tech geek and loving it. His ideal vacation destination is the Akihabara District (or really any place he can take his computer). If there’s a server out there, count on him to find out what it’s made of… and tell you all about it.

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