How Many Americans Are Victims of Identity Theft Each Year?
Mar 14,2023 March 14,2023
Technology advances every day to ensure that our transactions are safe and convenient. However, some people use it for criminal purposes.
Identity theft cases in the US have skyrocketed in the past few years. As technology evolves, so does how criminals access personal information online. According to Crime Museum, over 9 million Americans are victims of identity theft yearly.
Being vigilant is important when sharing your personal information online. Knowing how to prevent identity theft can protect you and your family from fraud and other crimes.
Read on to learn more about how many Americans are victims of identity theft each year.
Identity Theft Statistics (Editor’s Pick)
- Over 9 million cases of identity theft occur annually. (Crime Museum)
- In 2021, there were approximately 397,000 complaints of government or benefits fraud. (Experian)
- Cybercrime in the US leads to a yearly loss of roughly $4 billion. (FBI)
- The use of social media can increase the risk of identity theft. (Screen and Reveal)
- Child identity theft victimizes almost 1.3 million children every year. (Michigan State University)
- 33% of Americans have experienced an attempt at identity theft. (Proof Point)
Identity Theft Statistics
1. Over 9 million cases of identity theft happen every year.
Every year in the United States, 9 million people have their identities stolen. Identity theft can cost a lot of money, invade someone's privacy, and hurt someone in many ways. Employers and banks also check people's backgrounds and credit reports, so getting a job or borrowing money can be problematic if your identity is stolen.
2. About 397,000 complaints of government or benefits fraud occurred in 2021.
In 2021, the most common form of identity theft was government documents or benefits fraud. Even with FTC consumer warnings and enforcement efforts targeting the exploitation of people’s worry over the pandemic, internet scammers were still rising. There were 396,012 reports of this type of identity theft in 2021.
3. In the US, approximately $4 billion is lost in cybercrime annually.
According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report of 2021, around $4 billion is lost in cybercrimes each year. The most common cybercrime or cyber attack in the USA is phishing/vishing/smishing, with almost 300,000 Americans falling victim to this type of cybercrime in 2021.
4. The use of social media can increase the risk of identity theft.
Social media is essential; employers often check it to learn about job applicants. But using social media can make you vulnerable to identity theft. Almost everyone with a social media account is at risk. Some social media platforms, like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, are riskier, with a 46% chance of identity theft.
5. Almost 1.3 million children are victims of child identity theft.
According to an article from Michigan State University, children's identities can be in danger in many ways. Internet thieves may want to get a child's personal information, especially their Social Security number, which is very valuable. If a parent thinks someone is using their child's personal information, they should file a fraud report with the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC can detect fraud patterns and abuse by filing a fraud report. You can also put a credit freeze on your child’s credit reports and keep the password safe. This way, they can access their credit when they are old enough.
6. 33% of Americans have experienced an identity theft attempt.
Around one-third of Americans have experienced identity theft in their lifetime, much more than in countries like Germany or France. The global average is also lower than in the US.
Americans often share more information on social media, which makes it easier for cybercriminals to steal their personal data. This can put them at a higher risk of identity theft.
Preventing Identity Theft
Here are some tips to help protect yourself from identity theft:
- Keep your Social Security number safe. Only give it out if it is necessary.
- Be careful about sharing personal information, like your birthdate, SSN, or bank account number.
- Check your mail daily and ask for a hold if you'll be away from home for a while.
- Consider using a virtual private network (VPN).
- Check your credit card and bank account statements for unauthorized transactions and shred any documents with personal information.
- Freeze your credit files for free with Equifax, Experian, Innovis, TransUnion, and the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange.
- Install firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer.
- Use complex passwords that are hard to guess and change them if a company you do business with has a data breach.
- Check your credit reports once a year to ensure there aren't any accounts you didn't open.
It is crucial to adopt a proactive approach to protect your data against identity thieves is vital. The ultimate objective is to construct numerous efficient barriers to deter identity thieves from targeting you as a victim.
Steps to Take if You Believe You’re a Victim of Identity Theft
Acting fast is crucial if you think someone might have stolen your identity. The longer you wait, the harder it may be to fix the problem. Here are some things you can do if you think your identity has been stolen:
1. Check your credit report. Look for anything that seems wrong, like accounts you must remember to open. If you find something, let the credit bureau know right away.
2. Report the theft. If you're sure your identity was stolen, report it to the Federal Trade Commission and the police. You may also want to tell your creditors.
3. Protect yourself. Consider adding a fraud alert or a security freeze to your credit report. This can help stop someone from opening a new account in your name.
4. Correct any mistakes. If you need correct information on your credit report, dispute it with the credit bureau. They'll investigate and remove anything that's not accurate.
Identity thieves can catch you off guard, so don't assume your personal information is always safe. Protect yourself by watching your credit report, securing your devices and accounts, being careful about scams, and keeping important papers safe.
Doing these things will make it harder for thieves to steal from you and may even stop them altogether.
The numbers explored in this article related to identity theft and cybercrimes can be alarming. The risks associated with such crimes are genuine. With more and more transactions moving online, the likelihood of falling victim to identity theft only increases.
While it can be daunting to contemplate the scope and scale of these issues, it's essential to take them seriously. By doing so, you can take steps to safeguard your personal information and online security.
By being proactive and staying informed, you can minimize the risk of identity theft and feel more confident in your online activities.
There are four main types of identity theft: medical identity theft, financial identity theft, criminal identity theft, and child identity theft.
As many as one in four Americans have been affected by identity theft. This number is expected to increase over the coming year. Identity fraud statistics indicate that 45% of victims lost over $1,000. Only 62% of these victims get their money back.
Fraudsters use various complex tools to steal data. These methods include opening a credit-monitoring account in your name to target your location and hacking your devices with malware.
Studies have found that 4.5% of people in the US become victims of identity fraud every year. This information makes Americans more likely to have their identity stolen than other nationalities. Moreover, over one million children fall victim to fraud crimes annually.
According to online fraud statistics in 2020 and 2021, the age group most targeted is between 30 and 39. However, on average, older people are at greater risk of losing more than younger generations.
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