People contacting the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) are, in 30% of cases, victims of more than one identity crime, according to the latest ITRC study conducted over 36 months between 2018 and 2020. The research looks into the emotional, psychological, and physical implications that victims go through, as well as the financial impact.
The report includes responses from 427 victims of identity theft who contacted the ITRC between January 2018 and December 2020.
The survey found that a significant number of interviewed victims experienced consequences of crimes that resulted in substantial emotional burden, physical repercussions, and lost opportunities. The report notes that over its 18-year history, the ITRC has noted a 10% increase in victims of identify theft considering suicide.
“The 2021 Consumer Aftermath Report shows that the effects of identity theft, particularly during COVID-19, are far-reaching and accelerating,” said CEO and President of the Identity Theft Resource Center Eva Velasquez. “Even pre-pandemic, for roughly 30% of these individuals, this is the second identity crime committed against them. Generally, these victims cannot pay their rent or mortgage, put food on the table, gas in their cars, or afford to pay for internet access or childcare needed to look for new employment.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, identity fraud left 33% of victims with insufficient money to pay utilities and buy food. In all, 40% of victims weren’t able to pay regular bills, while 14% were evicted due to not paying mortgage repayments or rent. Understandably, 54% of interviewees felt violated because their identity was misused.
“While we have all adjusted to masks and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, for victims of identity fraud, the pandemic has created an entirely new set of risks,” said NCL VP of Public Policy Telecommunications and Fraud John Breyault.
“It might be tempting to focus only on the considerable harm that identity fraud does to consumers. However, we shouldn’t lose sight of the costs to businesses due to lost productivity and lower morale as employees manage their recovery and to taxpayers as fraudsters raid unemployment insurance funds.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, victims of identity crime struggled with the same impacts on their physical, emotional, and financial state. As many as 83% of surveyed victims couldn’t rent an apartment or find suitable housing, while 67% of victims had to incur debt to deal with their financial obligations.
We at DataProt cannot stress enough the importance of ID theft protection software. A small investment in personal security could potentially save you much more down the line, as we can see from the ITRC report.