Identity fraud grew sharply in 2012 with more than 12 million reported claims, according to a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research.
Analysts found that the number of identity fraud incidents increased by approximately a million people in 2012. If you want to read that in even more frightening terms, researchers equated that with one new victim in the United States every three seconds.
In financial terms, the dollar amount stolen increased to $21 billion. Javelin noted that this is a three-year high but more than half of the all-time high of $47 billion in 2004.
The most common method used for stealing identities appeared to be data breach notification letters. Approximately one in four recipients of these kinds of messages ended up being a victim.
Anything involving social security numbers also seemed to up the ante as consumers who had their SSNs compromised were five times more likely to be the victim of identity fraud than the average consumer.
The bright side (if there is one) is that researchers said businesses now respond faster to fraud claims, meaning that a consumer’s information is at risk for a shorter period of time, reducing the mean cost per victim.
Javelin Strategy & Research CEO Jim Van Dyke explained in the report that this is because "consumers and institutions are now starting to act as partners," but "consumers must take data breach notifications more seriously."
Chart via Javelin Strategy & Research