Identity theft is a major problem in the U.S. Every day, people have their identities stolen, costing them money, time, and peace of mind. And unfortunately, reported incidents of identity theft rise each year. In fact, identity theft surged in 2021, presumably due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even with the pandemic behind us, identity theft shows no signs of slowing down. In this article, we discuss the rise of identity theft in the U.S.
Identity Theft Statistics
In 2021, identity theft complaints increased 3.3% over the previous year. Specifically, there were approximately 1.39 million identity theft complaints in 2020, and this number increased to 1.43 million identity theft complaints in 2021. The most common type of identity theft in 2021 was government benefits or documents fraud. This type of identity theft accounted for over 396,000 complaints in 2021. Experts believe that this increase was at least partially related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The second most common type of identity theft in 2021 was credit card fraud, which was the leading type of identity theft from 2017 to 2019, with nearly 390,000 reported incidents. However, for the first half of 2022, credit card fraud was the most common type of reported identity theft in the U.S., generating approximately 231,000 complaints.
Main Kinds of Identity Theft
There are a variety of methods by which thieves commit identity theft. According to the FTC, the most common types of identity theft are:
- Government benefits or documents fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Lease or loan fraud
- Bank fraud
- Tax-related or employment fraud
- Utilities or phone fraud
Most Common Identity Theft Tactics
One of the most dangerous things about identity theft is that it can occur in a variety of ways. In 2021, the most common way that identity thieves engaged their victims was via phone. In fact, telephone identity theft scams resulted in over 646,000 complaints and estimated financial losses of approximately $700 million in 2021.
Another common source of identity theft in 2021 was social media. Although social media identity theft scams only resulted in around a quarter of the number of complaints generated due to telephone scams, they resulted in a higher total amount of financial losses than any other means of contact. Specifically, social media scams resulted in total losses of approximately $797 million. Other common forms of contact utilized by identity thieves include:
- Text messages
- Online advertisements
Contact a Consumer Class Action Lawyer
If you are a victim of identity theft, you should take immediate legal action. Identity theft is often the result of negligence on the part of entities that store your personal information. And when a business releases your personal information to an unauthorized party, you should obtain financial compensation for your losses. Please contact attorney Seth Lehrman today to schedule a free consultation.