Identity Fraud Rose in 2011

CHANTILLY, Va., Feb. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – The recently released 2012 Javelin Strategy & Research Identity Fraud Report, shows that the number of identity fraud incidents increased by 13 percent in 2011, totaling 11.6 million adult victims. The report also found that certain social media behaviors and increasing number of data breach incidents contributed to the overall amount of identity fraud instances in the United States over the past year.

The Findings

  • Identity fraud incidents have increasedAccording to the report findings, victims of a data breach were 9.5 times more likely to be a victim of identity fraud.  With a staggering 67 percent increase in data breach victims in 2011, this notable increase directly correlates with the increase in identity fraud victims.
  • Costs remain steadyDespite the increasing number of identity fraud victims in 2011, the total dollar amount tied to losses remained steady. More stringent authentication practices by financial institutions and increased consumer awareness efforts by government and financial institutions likely helped keep these costs from rising.
  • Detection:  As the report finds, electronic monitoring of accounts through the Internet, ATM or other electronic means is the leading way of detecting fraud over reviewing paper records.  54 percent of victims were notified they had been a victim of identity theft by their financial institution, law enforcement, etc.
  • Social Media:  Consumers who actively engage with social media and utilize a smartphone were found to have a disproportionate rate of identity fraud than consumers who do not engage in these mediums.

Protection your identity by:

  • Protect Your Information. Exposing common information like birthdates and addresses puts consumers at a greater risk as these elements are commonly used by financial institutions for security questions and validation of identity to access accounts. Even such seemingly harmless information could be valuable to experienced identity thieves.
  • Be Social, But Be Smart. Knowing that social networks are a hotbed for identity fraud activity, consumers should take extra care when deciding who to connect with and what applications to accept. Users that approve friend requests from strangers and use GPS/location based applications are far more susceptible to fraud.
  • Take Caution with Mobile Computing. The convenience of online and mobile banking is here to stay, but consumers need to take the extra step of ensuring their network connection is secure and their devices have updated security.
  • Act Quickly. The sooner a victim learns of the fraud, the sooner their road to recovery can begin, so consumers must remain alert and act quickly in the event that they notice suspicious activity, reporting it to their financial institutions and law enforcement

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