Identity theft is a major problem in the United States. In fact, a recent report by Javelin reveals that this illicit practice is more prevalent than ever. Specifically, in 2021, nearly 42 million Americans were victims of identity theft, costing consumers over $50 billion in total losses. This represents an increase in fraud of nearly 80 percent over 2020. Experts believe that this increase was at least partially caused by thieves’ eagerness to capitalize on the billions of dollars in stimulus funds that many people obtained in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Traditional Identity Fraud Up in 2021
In 2021, losses caused by traditional identity fraud, which Javelin defines as the unauthorized use of another’s personal information to achieve illicit financial gain, increased by nearly 80 percent over 2020. Surprisingly, many victims of identity fraud never find out when or how their personal information was compromised.
Identity Theft Scams
The report differentiates traditional identity fraud from identity fraud scams. Unlike traditional identity fraud, in which victims often remain unaware of how their information was compromised, identity fraud scams happen when a thief deceives someone into giving away some of their personal information, either through email, phone calls, text messages or some other manner. As opposed to traditional identity fraud, identity fraud scams decreased in 2021, with 12 million fewer victims of such scams in 2021. However, with a total of 27 million victims losing approximately $28 billion combined, identity fraud scams continue to be a huge problem.
Together, these two types of identity fraud—traditional identity fraud and identity fraud scams—cost 42 million victims approximately $52 billion in losses in 2021.
Additional noteworthy statistics from the report include:
- Fraud involving existing credit cards increased by nearly 70 percent.
- Fraudulent charges involving existing credit cards cost consumers over $9 billion.
- Seventy percent of respondents to a survey associated with the report stated that they trust facial recognition, fingerprint scanning, and retinal scanning to combat fraud.
- Consumers spent around 16 hours on average disputing charges on fake accounts.
- Identity fraud in which identity thieves opened a new account using a person’s personal information affected approximately 5 million victims and totaled nearly $7 billion in losses.
- Identity fraud involving existing savings, checking, insurance and other accounts totaled around $8 billion, which represents a 73 percent increase from 2020.
Contact a Consumer Class Action Lawyer
Identity theft occurs for many reasons, one of which is negligence on the part of organizations that store your personal information. If you believe that the negligence of a financial institution or other entity has resulted in the theft of your identity, experienced attorney Seth Lehrman is here to help you seek financial compensation for your losses. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation with our talented class action lawyer.