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.
According 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.
The report also found:
- Despite 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The findings in this year's study indicate that fraudsters are taking advantage of consumers' increased use of social networks, and hacking into large businesses where many identities are housed in one place. As these criminals continue to evolve in finding new ways to retrieve personal information, it is imperative that consumers remain consistent and committed to protecting their identity.