Last Updated: June 16, 2022
Identity theft has become one of the biggest pain points of the technology era. With all its benefits, digitalization has also made imposter scams pretty easy to conduct and quite difficult to track.
Here, we will share with you some of the most important and recent identity theft statistics that will help you stay safe.
Identity Theft Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- Every two seconds, one user falls victim to identity theft in the world.
- Every one in five victims has experienced identity theft more than once.
- Over 1.3 million children become a victim of identity theft every year.
- The number of identity thefts in the US doubled in 2020, reaching 1.4 million.
- Millennials are more vulnerable to identity fraud, but the older generations lose more money.
- Credit card frauds have decreased by 75% after the rollout of EMV chip cards.
We’ll expand on these identity theft facts and stats, but not before we answer one question…
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft or identity fraud is a criminal activity where an imposter acquires one’s PII (Personally Identifiable Information). This vital data includes banking passwords, email passwords, social security numbers, driver’s licenses, or other details exclusively related to an individual.
Generally, identity theft is carried out for two reasons.
- To swindle the money from the victim’s bank account or buy products and services using their details.
- To use the stolen identity as a false identification to conduct criminal activities, receive free medical care or government benefits.
General ID Theft Stats
Let’s look at some of the general identity theft statistics records in the last year or so.
1. There is a new victim of identity theft every two seconds.
How often does identity theft happen?
According to estimates, there is one new identity theft happening every two seconds. These identity theft cases include both online and offline exploits.
2. People using social media are 30% more vulnerable to identity theft.
(Source: Javelin Strategy)
People who are active on social media platforms are more likely to experience identity theft in one form or the other. Social media identity theft statistics further suggest that Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat users are the most likely victims, with a 46% higher risk.
3. 20% of victims of identity theft have experienced it more than once.
(Source: ID Theft Center)
Almost one in five victims of identity theft has already borne the brunt of this cybercrime in the past. It shows how cunning identity thieves are and how they constantly innovate their methods to steal confidential information from online users. Such ID theft stats also highlight the negligent behavior of users in handling their information online.
4. More than three-fourth of identity theft victims experience emotional distress afterward.
(Source: ID Theft Center)
The cost of identity theft should not always be calculated in monetary terms. Identity theft incidences also take an emotional toll on the victim. A recent ID Theft Center report suggests that around 77% of identity theft victims experience emotional distress in the aftermath of the crime.
5. Over 1.3 million children become a victim of identity theft every year.
(Source: ID Theft Center)
Yes, you read that right. Children aren’t safe from the wrath of identity thieves either. The child identity theft statistics tell us that around 1.3 million children’s personal details are stolen every year. Moreover, foster children are at higher risk of identity theft. Criminals like to steal children’s identities because their Social Security Number and credit history are more likely to remain untouched, thus providing them with a longer window to swindle without getting noticed.
6. More than 80% of consumers leave their personal information exposed online.
As mentioned in the intro, digitization is the major reason behind rising identity thefts. These identity theft numbers are one of the proofs in support of this conclusion.
While using their email, bank accounts, or any other personal profile with confidential information, 87% of users have left their confidential information unattended and exposed.
7. Almost one in five identity theft victims don’t get compensated for their losses
(Source: Javelin Strategy)
The reimbursements for victims can’t be considered ideal in light of the available identity theft reports. Almost 20-30% of identity theft victims didn’t get compensated for their losses. This usually happens when victims fail to file reimbursement claims in line with the given requirements. In some cases, many identity theft victims also lose out on compensation based on the unprecedented nature of the theft.
8. Around 4,800 websites every month unknowingly become a source for identity theft.
This attack accounted for 71% of all web-related data breaches in 2018. And every month, around 5,000 websites become a victim of formjacking. These compromised websites are subsequently used to steal consumer information and inflict identity fraud.
Statistics on Identity Theft in the USA
The US is one of the biggest consumer markets. Identity theft trends recorded in the US often reveal the set of exploits global identity thieves are up to. Therefore, in this section, we primarily focus on identity theft facts and stats in the backdrop of the US consumer market.
9. 47% of Americans experienced financial identity theft in 2019 and 2020.
How many people are affected by identity theft?
In the past two years, almost half of US consumers surveyed experienced identity theft. Some 37% of them reported detecting unauthorized use of their identity to apply for a new bank account, while 38% experienced an account takeover.
10. Identity theft accounted for 29% of all fraud complaints in 2020.
Among all the identity theft stats, this figure is undoubtedly the most important one. The reports suggest that around one-third or 1.4 million of all 4.7 million fraud complaints filed in 2020 were for identity theft.
11. The number of identity theft cases has doubled in one year.
It seems like the worldwide disruption in every industry due to the pandemic has also helped the criminals. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the reported identity theft crimes have risen from 650,523 in 2019 to almost 1.4 million in 2020.
12. Millennials are the age group most affected by identity theft.
Among the 1.4 million identity fraud reports filed, 306,090 were from the people falling in the age bracket of 30-39. On the other hand, people over 80 are the least affected by identity theft. The major reason youngsters fall victim to identity theft is they are the most digitally active consumer group. A lot of their confidential information is present online, thus making them an easier target for identity thieves.
13. The older generation suffers the highest losses from identity fraud.
While young people are 44% more likely to fall victim to identity theft, those aged 70+ suffer a much higher median loss.
In 2020, people in the 20-29 age bracket lost $324, on average. This compares to $635 for those aged 70-79, and $1,300 for the 80+.
14. US consumers lost almost $56 billion to identity theft and fraud in 2020.
(Source: Javelin Strategy)
The data for 2021 is not available yet. But if we look at the numbers of 2020, consumers in the US alone lost $56 billion to identity theft. This figure represents a combined total of $13 billion for traditional identity fraud and $43 billion for identity fraud scams.
15. 43% of holiday shopping identity theft in the US happens online.
Online identity theft statistics from Experian suggest that many Americans fall victim to identity theft during the holiday season. There are two main reasons for that. First, more people are shopping, and more consumers mean more potential targets for identity theft. Second, the festivity of the holiday makes people negligent in protecting their confidential information online.
16. Kansas is the most affected US state by identity theft.
Surprisingly, Kansas is the worst-hit US state when it comes to the plague of identity theft. But how common is identity theft there?
The identity theft statistics by state tell us that 1,483 identity theft and fraud cases were reported per 100,000 people in the state in 2020. The lack of general privacy law in effect is one of the major reasons why Kansans are the most affected among all state residents. They certainly should consider using identity theft protection services.
Most Common Types of Identity Theft
What is the most common identity theft? How many people are affected by those identity thefts? In this section, we will try to list down some identity theft statistics in this regard.
17. Government documents or benefits fraud is the most common identity theft type.
A large number of US citizens apply for all sorts of government benefits. This high influx of information between government departments and citizens provides criminals with an opportunity to attempt identity theft.
According to the latest Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, government documents or benefits fraud was the most common type of identity theft in 2020. The FTC received 406,375 reports from people who said their information had been misused to apply for a government document or benefit, such as unemployment insurance.
Credit card fraud instances follow closely, with 393,207 reports filed. For reference, all other recent identity theft cases account for around 350,000 reports.
18. Government documents or benefits fraud increased by 2,920% in 2020.
The most recent statistics on identity theft suggest that scams involving government benefits applied for or received have increased by a tremendous 2,920%. Nearly $1.2 billion of losses reported last year were due to such imposter scams.
The disturbing trend likely stems from the trillions of dollars unleashed in COVID-19 relief. It seems the pandemic is fertile ground for scammers.
19. Credit card frauds have decreased by 75% after the rollout of EMV chip cards.
Credit card frauds are still one of the biggest contributors to identity theft losses. However, their absolute numbers have gone down after the arrival of EMV chip-based cards. In fact, there has been a 75% decrease in credit card frauds since the EMV rollout.
This figure is supported by another stat that tells us that over 77% of US merchants now have payment systems installed that can accept and process the transactions made by EMV cards.
20. Federal student loan fraud has increased by 88%.
Student loans are the most common applied-for loans in the US. Identity thieves have also realized the potential of their exploits in this domain. Criminals steal the identities of individuals eligible for the federal student loan and apply on their behalf to swindle the national treasury. The FTC report suggests 27,495 such attacks happened in 2020, which was an 88% increase from the previous year.
21. Tax-related identity frauds increased by 225% in 2020.
In the US, identity thieves also exploit people’s authentic profiles to file fraudulent taxes. This usually happens through a stolen social security number. The main objective of this type of identity theft fraud is to file a tax return for claiming a fraudulent refund. Tax identity theft statistics reveal that 89,391 cases of tax frauds with identity theft were reported last year in the US.
We hope that this roundup of identity theft statistics helps you understand the different aspects of this criminal activity. One thing is quite evident that digitization has increased the risks of identity theft and the overall number of identity theft cases. If we particularly talk about identity theft in America, then government benefits and credit cards are the favorite targets of identity thieves.
The above identity theft facts also reveal that children are not spared from the shenanigans of identity thieves either. Practising diligence and avoiding negligence while handling personal data are the most effective ways to mitigate the risk and avoid joining these identity fraud statistics.