Survey shows identity fraud increased 13% in 2011

2012 Identity Fraud Report - Javelin Strategy & Research

2012 Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming the New Fraud Frontier

Released by Javelin Strategy & Research (, reports that in 2011 identity fraud increased by 13 percent.  More than 11.6 million adults became a victim of identity fraud in the United States, while the dollar amount stolen held steady. The report also took the nation’s most comprehensive quantitative look at consumer behavior and fraud and found consumers’ social media and mobile behaviors may be putting them at greater risk.


The survey found four overall fraud trends:

  • Identity fraud incidents increased, amount stolen remained steady—The number of identity fraud incidents increased by 13 percent over the past year, but the dollar amount stolen remained steady. Additionally, consumer out-of-pocket costs have decreased by 44 percent since 2004, likely due to the improved prevention and detection tools that have come available as well as fraud alerts leading to reduced detection time.
  • Social behaviors put consumers at risk—For the first time, Javelin examined social media and mobile phone behaviors and identified certain social and mobile behaviors that had higher incidence rates of fraud than all consumers.  LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and Facebook users had the highest incidence of fraud although there is no proof of direct causation. The survey found that despite warnings that social networks are a great resource for fraudsters, consumers are still sharing a significant amount of personal information frequently used to authenticate a consumer’s identity. Surprisingly those with public profiles (those visible to everyone) were more likely to expose this personal information. Specifically, 68 percent of people with public social media profiles shared their birthday information (with 45 percent sharing month, date and year); 63 percent shared their high school name; 18 percent shared their phone number; and 12 percent shared their pet’s name—¬all are prime examples of personal information a company would use to verify your identity.
  • Smartphone owners experience greater incidence of fraud—The survey found seven percent of smartphone owners were victims of identity fraud. This is a 1/3rd higher incidence rate compared to the general public. Part of this increase may be attributable to consumer behavior: 32 percent of smartphone owners do not update to a new operating system when it becomes available; 62 percent do not use a password on their home screen—enabling anyone to access their information if the phone is lost; and 32 percent save login information on their device.
  • Data Breaches increasing and more damaging — One likely contributing factor to the fraud increase was the 67 percent increase in the number of Americans impacted by data breaches compared to 2010. Javelin Strategy & Research found victims of data breaches are 9.5 times more likely to be a victim of identity fraud than consumers who did not receive such a data breach letter.

ITAC Victim Survey Says…..

Nearly Two out of three ID theft victims do not know source of crime, according to Identity theft assistance center survey A survey of more than 1,500 identity theft victims shows that approximately three out of four, or 72%, do not know the source of the crime, according to ITAC, the Identity Theft Assistance Center.

“Your best bet is to treat your personal information as you do your personal safety – like buckling your seat belt. Keep data in your home and workplace in a secure location, keep your anti-virus software, browser and operating system updated, and monitor your accounts online for unusual activity.” -Anne Wallace President of ITAC

“We may see these anonymous sources grow since criminals use stolen consumer data as currency and are becoming more targeted and organized,” said Michael Stanfield, chairman and CEO of Intersections Inc., a leading global provider of consumer and corporate identity risk management services. Of the 1,530 victims helped by ITAC, twenty-eight percent said they knew the source of the crime.

  • Followed by computer-related identity crime (21.6%).
  • Lost/stolen wallet, checkbook or credit card accounts for 15.1%
  • Corrupt businesses or employees also at (11.6%)
  • And breaches of consumer data accounted for 4.7% of the cases



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