31 Identity Theft Statistics & Facts

No one is safe from identity and credit card theft. Children, seniors, and even military consumers can easily have their identity stolen without even knowing about the fraud. The latest identity theft statistics reveal that this type of fraud is on the rise.

In most countries, ID thefts represent less than 1% of all offenses. The USA meanwhile sees millions of identity thefts per year. In most cases, the damage is financial, and solving the issue is time-consuming. When Americans deal with medical impersonation, however, the stakes are higher with misdiagnosis and mistreatment entering the picture.

Read on for the latest ID theft trends and facts that will hopefully help you avoid becoming part of the statistics. 

 

Identity Theft Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • Less than 1% of crimes in Canada are identity theft-related.
  • Only 1% of online fraud cases in Europe are ID theft-related.
  • The average ID theft loss in the United States is $850.
  • Nearly 60 million Americans were affected by impersonation in 2017.
  • There were nearly half a million ID theft reports in 2018.
  • Most identity thefts in the United States are credit card fraud-related.
  • Most ID theft and credit card frauds target White Americans.

 

 

Misuse of personal information also contributes to only 1% of such incidents. The majority of incidents are fraudulent messages (phishing) and redirection to fake websites (pharming) with 26% and 13%, respectively. Other issues Europeans face when using the Internet include lost documents due to a virus (3%), credit card fraud (3%), and hacked accounts (2%).

(Eurostat)

 

2. Malta, the UK, and Switzerland recorded the highest online identity theft percentage in 2019.

All these three countries had an identical percentage (3%) of their population deal with online ID theft. Identity theft statistics worldwide shows that the UK also leads the way in credit card scams among its European peers. About 7% of Brits faced this issue, while people from Denmark (6%) and France (5%) came right next.

What country noted the highest number of all types of online fraud and ID theft combined? European fraud statistics show that it’s Norway. Approximately 66% of Norwegians reported one or more of these issues in 2019, according to EU ID theft stats. The top five list is rounded up with Switzerland (54%), Denmark (50%), the UK (50%), and France (46%).

(Eurostat)

 

3. The majority of Europeans would inform the police if they were an ID theft victim.

About 84% would contact the police, while only 13% would contact the website vendor. An additional 13% said they would call the Internet service provider, and 7% would get in touch with a consumer protection organization.

It’s interesting to compare these figures against the FBI identity theft statistics. In the US, 90% of ID theft incidents go unreported. Only 6.8% of Americans dealing with this incident went to the police. Moreover, most of them don’t think the authorities can help them if they report credit card frauds or ID theft.

(Eurostat)

 

4. ID theft crimes represent less than 1% of all crimes in Canada.

In 2013, there were a total of 1,824,837 crimes in Canada. Among those, only 11,594 were ID theft incidents. This figure represents only 0.63% of all crimes in the country. The identity theft rate per 100,000 people is only 33. These figures place Canada in the same category as most European countries, according to identity theft statistics worldwide.

(Francesco Di Ciccio)

 

5. Online shoppers from Britain are the most frequent victims of online identity theft.

Online fraud statistics reveal that approximately 14% of Brits who do online shopping have been an ID theft victim. About 11% of Americans and 10% of Canadians meanwhile have reported such issues. Only 6%, 5%, and 3% of online shoppers from France, Spain, and Germany, respectively, reported having their identity stolen. These online credit card fraud statistics suggest that people from EU countries seem to be even more careful when online shopping.

(Francesco Di Ciccio)

 

6. Identity fraud in the UK is on the rise.

In 2016, there were 172,919 cases of ID fraud in the Kingdom. In 2017, such incidents increased by 7% to 174,523. The total number of scams in the UK, however, dropped by 6% from 324,683 to $305,564. The highest year-on-year spike of 44% was noted among asset conversion. Such cases jumped from 381 in 2016 to 547 in 2017, as suggested by fraud and identity theft stats. Still, when all types of fraud are compared, identity fraud remains the most common type of fraud in the UK.

(Cifas)

 

7. British men represent more than half of all the impersonation victims in the UK.

About 62% of all impersonations victims in the UK are male, while 38% are female. As for what age groups are the most affected by impersonation, those aged 31-40 led the way in 2017. A total of 34,482 impersonation frauds targeted people from this age group. Per the Cifas teenage identity theft statistics, a total of 8,613 cases affected individuals under 24, teenagers over 14 included. This figure was by 15% higher than the one noted in 2016, meaning such ID frauds are on the rise.

(Cifas)

 

8. Credit card fraud is the most common type of impersonation in the UK.

In 2017, there were 58,788 credit card fraud cases associated with ID theft. Bank account incidents related to ID theft came next with a total of 51,544 such offenses. Telecom impersonations jumped by 47% to 16,973 in 2017. Online retail ID theft also increased by nearly a half (49%), and reached a total of 11,729 incidents. Ghost brokers, per the Cifas online identity theft and credit card fraud statistics, noted a shocking year-on-year rise of 1,600% from 248 to 4,215.

(Cifas)

 

9. Stolen or fake identities sell for $0.10-$1.50 in the underground economy.

Financial fraud statistics show that medical notes and prescriptions sell for higher at $15-$20, while mobile phone online accounts cost about $15-$25. You can buy stolen medical records for $0-$10-$35 or full ID packages for $30-$100. Getting your hands on scanned documents containing personal data will cost you $0.50-$45.

The prices for credit cards on the underground markets are equally low. A single credit card is about $0.50-$20, while a card with full details costs $1-$45. It’s likely, however, that these have already been used by offenders for different types of credit card frauds and won’t work.

(Symantec)

 

10. The synthetic identity theft rate has been on the rise in the past few years.

Synthetic identity fraud statistics show that these have been on the rise and jumped by 35% from 2015 to 2016. When an offender uses real information to create a new (unreal) identity, we have cybercrime identity theft cases. These cases have a high average loss of $6,000 per account. 

(Experian)

 

American Identity Theft Stats

 

11. There were 3 million fraud reports in 2018, and most of them were imposter scams.

Debt collection and ID theft round up the top three scams list in the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2018 by FTC. The total fraud losses that year reached $1.48 billion, and the median loss was $375.

As for the imposter scams, the reported loss was $488 million, while the median loss was $500. There were 1.42 million such reports, which represented 47.7% of all incidents. About 14.8% of the reports (444,802) were impersonation-related.

(FTC)

 

12. Impersonation has been on the rise but remains under the record-highs seen in 2015.

Back in 2001, there were only 86,250 ID theft reports in the USA. The FTC identity theft statistics, however, showed that only a year later, the number nearly doubled to 161,977. The record-high number of such reports was seen in 2015 when there were 490,112 incidents filed.

In 2016 and 2017 the number of ID thefts dropped under 400,000. In 2018, however, there was an increase in identity theft once again when the number of impersonation crimes reached 444,602. 

(FTC)

 

13. In 2017, almost 60 million Americans had their identity stolen.

The stats provided by Panda Security show that in 2016 about 791 million identities were stolen in the country. That year, France came in second with 84 million identities stolen. In its online identity theft statistics, the provider concludes that social media users have a 30% higher risk of becoming victims. Specifically, those who use Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram face even higher risks (by 46%) compared to those without social media profiles.

(Panda Security)

 

Between 2015-2018, most complaints in the FTC were either about frauds or other consumer complaints. In 2018, there were 444,602 impersonation complaints, and this figure represented about 15% of all complaints. Fraud, by contrast, accounted for nearly half (48%) of all complaints with over 1.42 million filings.

(Insurance Information Institute)

 

15. Child ID theft has been on the rise in the US.

Child identity theft statistics reveal that there were 13,852 complaints regarding ID theft of children and teenagers aged 19 and under. This figure is 3.89% of all ID theft complaints filed in 2017. About 17% of all fraud cases in the US were targeting children and teenagers. Moreover, fraud or theft of identity is expected to affect about one-fourth of children before even they turn 18.

(Experian)

 

16. Michigan is the US state where the most identity thefts per capita are reported.

The state recorded 151 complaints per 100,000 population, more than any other American state. The top five list is rounded up with Florida (149), California (140), Maryland (129), and Nevada (128). Identity theft statistics by state meanwhile show that the state with the most complaint reports is California with a total of 55,418 ID theft complaints. Texas (33,454) and Florida (31,167) also have recorded lots of such complaints.

(Experian)

 

17. South Dakota recorded the smallest number of ID theft reports per capita.

The Mount Rushmore state had a total of 403 complaints and only 46 complaints per capita. With 55, 57, 59, and 60 complaints per capita, West Virginia, Vermont, Iowa, and Maine are near the bottom too. Vermont and Wyoming are the US states with the fewest complaints, 354 and 389, according to identity fraud statistics by state.

(Experian)

 

18. The number of data breaches significantly jumped in 2016 and 2017.

In 2013, there were only 614 data breaches in the United States. This number slowly progressed in 2014 (783) and 2015 (780). Then, in 2016 and 2017, it skyrocketed to 1,091 and 1,579, respectively. The year-on-year jump in 2017 was a shocking 44% and resulted in almost 179 million exposed records. That same year, the number of exposed credit card data and SSNs reached 14.2 million and nearly 158 million, respectively.

(Experian)

 

19. Credit card fraud is the most common type of ID theft in the US.

Identity theft statistics by country highlight that most such incidents in the US are credit card related. Namely, in 2017, there were 133,015 credit fraud reports, compared to much fewer 82,051 employment or tax-related fraud reports. The other common ID theft types in the US are phone or utilities fraud (55,045) and bank fraud (50,517). Loan or lease fraud (30,034) and benefits fraud (25,849) round up the list.

(Experian)

 

20. Most identity thefts were discovered after victims were contacted by financial institutions regarding suspicious activities.

Almost half of all the cases (47.6%) were discovered this way. About 18.7% of the victims noticed fraudulent charges on their accounts themselves, as BJS credit card skimming statistics reveal. Only 8.0% saw money missing from their accounts, while 4.7% dealt with declined credit cards due to insufficient funds.

An additional 4.6% of the victims were notified by a company or agency, while 2.9% received a bill for a purchase they didn’t make. Only 0.5% of the impersonation victims in 2016 were notified by the police of the incident.

(BJS)

 

21. In more than 90% of identity thefts, the victim didn’t know anything about the thief.

Only in 6.2%, the victim knew something about the person who stole their personal information. This situation was the most common among cases involving misuse of personal information. The official identity theft stats show that about 16.4% of such victims had some information about the offender.

Around 13.0% of victims dealing with accounts opened under their name also knew something about the offender. Misuse of existing credit cards and bank accounts meanwhile is mostly done by complete strangers. Here, only 3.1% and 6.1% of victims reported knowing something about the identity thief.

(BJS)

 

22. The highest ID theft losses come from opening new accounts and misusing personal information.

The average loss associated with opening a new account is $3,460, and the median loss here is $800. As for misusing personal information, the average and median losses are $2,620 and $600, respectively. According to the BJS credit card fraud facts, the average and median losses in this category are much lower $730 and $200.

(BJS)

 

23. More than half of identity thefts get resolved within a day.

A total of 57% of one-time incidents in 2016 were resolved within a day. Nearly 20% of the incidents took between 2-7 days to fix. About 15% of incident resolutions lasted between eight days and one month. Under 10% of all ID theft resolutions lasted 1-3 months, while insignificant 1% took 3-6 and over six months to resolve.

(BJS)

  

24. Americans get more than 4 million tons of junk mail per year.

There aren’t any reliable dumpster diving identity theft statistics due to the nature of the ‘activity’. There are, however, other figures we can use to highlight this type of offense. Namely, about 4 million tons of junk mail is sent to Americans every year.

Such mail often contains personal details, SSNs, email addresses, bank account information, and more. Meaning, offenders can use it for ID theft but also other types of fraud, including benefits, tax, bank, and loan fraud. The surest way to protect yourself from dumpster divers is to shred all mail containing any kind of personal information.

(LifeLock)

 

25. Medical impersonation is on the rise in the United States.

Medical identity theft statistics show that this type of fraud has increased by 22% since 2013. In 2014, the total out-of-pocket costs victims paid totaled about $20 billion. Approximately 65% of victims had to deal with such costs.

Besides financial damages, medical ID theft victims deal with other issues too. About 20% of people whose medical identity was stolen reported being misdiagnosed or receiving unsuitable treatment. Such indirect impact can have severe consequences for the victims; some of them can even result in death.

(FreedomidDirect)

 

Identity Theft Stats by Demographics

 

26. Most ID theft victims in the US in 2016 were women.

Out of 25.95 million victims, about 13.45 million were women and 12.49 million were men. These figures represent 10.3% of all women and 10.1% of all men in America aged 16 or older. Most men (6.81 million) struggle with the misuse of credit card details. For women (6.51 million), on the other hand, misusing existing bank accounts is the main issue. Opening accounts or misusing personal data affected 1.21 million men and 1.39 million women, according to stats about identity theft.

(BJS)

 

27. White Americans are the most common victims of identity and credit card fraud.

The total number of victims among White Americans aged 16 or more in 2016 was 19.42 million (11.8%). Fewer African Americans, Hispanics, and people from other races were scam victims. The total number of such frauds counted 2.3 million (7.4%), 2.5 million (6.3%), 1.3 million (8.4%), respectively. Among biracial Americans aged 16 or more, there were 366,200 victims. Meaning, about 12% were affected by ID theft, which is the highest percentage compared to the rest.

(BJS)

 

28. White Americans struggle the most with credit card fraud, while African Americans mostly deal with bank account fraud.

Credit card fraud statistics show that about 6.5% (10.66 million) of scammed White Americans had their credit card details misused. Most African Americans (1.42 million or 4.6%) had their bank account details misused. The situation is similar among Hispanic Americans with 1.42 million or 3.5% dealing with abuse of bank account information.

(BJS)

 

29. In 2016, most ID theft victims in the US were aged 39-49.

About 7.54 million victims were from this age group, while 7.48 million were aged 50-64. Next on the list came Americans aged 25-34 (4.78 million), 65 or older (4.07 million), and 18-24 (1.99 million). According to the identity theft facts and statistics, the lowest number of victims was recorded among those aged 16-17 (81,400).

As for the most common issue for each of the age groups, credit card fraud leads the way for each age group. The only exception are Americans aged 25-34 who mostly face misuse of bank account details.

(BJS)

 

30. In 2018, about 28,880 ID theft reports affected military consumers.

Among such consumers, credit card fraud was the most common type of impersonation, show the statistics on identity theft. There were 10,139 credit card incidents, 5,380 bank frauds, and 4,022 employment or tax-related offenses. 

(FTC)

 

31. Most impersonation victims in America are those earning $75,000 or more a year.

While only 3.27 million of people whose identity was stolen make less than $25,000, about 12.74 million of them make over $74,000. The number of victims who earn $25,000-$49,999 and $50,000-$74,999 is 5.31 million and 4.62 million, respectively.

Per the credit card theft statistics, approximately 7.80 million or 8.6% of Americans making $75,000+ have their card details misused. All the other income groups mostly struggle with the misuse of bank account details.

(BJS)3

 

FAQs

 

Where is identity theft most common in the world?

About 44% of credit card users in Mexico have suffered fraud and ID theft. This percentage places the country at the top when rates are compared. The US has the highest number of data breaches (1,023) in the world. Finally, Russia is the primary source of ID theft.

We’d like to highlight that a single data breach can lead to stealing thousands or even millions of identities at once. 

 

What are the odds of having your identity stolen?

About 6.64% of people became impersonation victims in 2017. This percentage shows that about 1 in 15 gets their personal data stolen. Your actions, however, can significantly improve or worsen these odds.

People who are careful and who take steps to protect themselves are less likely to be ID theft victims. For instance, never clicking on spam emails or giving personal data over the phone are two ways to avoid this scenario.

 

How do thieves steal your identity?

There are both old-fashioned and modern ways that an identity thief uses to get your information. Here, we have dumpster diving, phishing, skimming, stealing your mail, and pretexting. Other methods include shoulder surfing and social engineering. 

The most common card skimming methods include tampering with ATMs. These days, however, scammers recruit workers at restaurants and retail shops who frequently handle credit card payments.

Other examples of credit card frauds would be the use of a stolen card, the creation of fake cards, and account takeovers. Meaning, it’s essential to always be alert when using your card as new ways of scamming consumers appear constantly.

 

How long does it take to investigate identity theft?

For a person to deal with the ID theft effects, it may take them anything between seven hours and up to 1,200 hours. Everything depends on the magnitude of the issue. The process involves filing reports, sending letters, setting up fraud alerts, and more.

As for how long authorities take to investigate such cases, the average is between 120-180 days. Again, the exact length depends on the complexity of the case. In fact, the most complex ID theft cases may take up to a year or more to be investigated.

 

What are the four types of identity theft?

New account, tax, medical, and employment identity theft are the four common types. New account ID theft covers several other subcategories such as bank fraud, credit, and debit card identity theft, and loan scams.

 

Do identity thieves get caught?

It seems the answer is rarely. A study by ScamBusters from 2006 established that only 1 in 700 ID thieves get arrested by authorities. Meaning, less than 1% (0.14%) of identity thieves get caught, while the rest just move on to their next victim.

Two reasons for these disappointing numbers are the non-violent nature of the crime and the thief’s country of residence. Fraud stats show that authorities give priority to solving violent crimes and, therefore, often overlook impersonation cases. Also, a lot of identity thieves operate outside their country of residence.

 

Finding the Balance

All these identity theft statistics and FAQs show that fraudsters always come up with new ways to scam people. In a way, identity theft and credit card fraud are evolving. That’s why all consumers must handle their personal and credit card details carefully at all times.

Never click on suspicious emails, never enter card information at doubtful websites, and shred documents. These steps will help you protect yourself when browsing the Internet and handling your mail. Naturally, you can also invest in a top-rated identity theft protection tool for additional peace of mind.

 

References: Eurostat, Eurostat, Eurostat, Francesco Di Ciccio, Cifas, Symantec, Experian, FTC, Panda Security, Insurance Information Institute, BJS, LifeLock, FreedomidDirect

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