IT | Security

9.9 Million Adults Impacted by Identity Fraud in 2008

By: Absolute Team | 2/17/2009

Javelin Strategy & Research have released the results of their 2009 Identity Fraud Survey Report. The result confirms that the number of identity fraud victims rose by 22% to 9.9 million adults in the US for 2008. The total annual fraud amount, the amount criminals were able to obtain illegally, went up to $48 billion.

The report, which is based upon a survey of 24,000 US respondents, aims to help understand identity fraud and the success rates of methods in prevention, detection and resolution. Highlights from the study include:

  • Identity fraud incidents increased by 22% to 9.9 million victims, levels not seen since the survey began 2004 (attributed to economic uncertainty)
  • Cost to consumers for identity fraud is down to $496 (from $718)
  • 71% of fraud incidents began occurring less than 1 week from when the data was stolen (up from 33%)
  • Women were 26% more likely to be victims of identity fraud; it also took women nearly twice as long to catch fraud. This points to a lack of education of fraud detection.
  • Lost or stolen wallets, checkbooks and credit/debit cards were most likely avenues of attack (43%), when access was known
  • Average fraud amount, per incident, is $4,849 (the amount criminals obtained illegally)

As the result of better means of fraud detection and resolution, fraud is being detected and resolved more quickly. Thus, although the identity fraud victims went up (a bad thing), the consumer cost per incident went down by 31% to $496 per incident. I think consumers would agree that this is still a high cost and one which doesn't even account for the time and anxiety such an incident would cause.

The Javelin report is available in two versions, one for consumers and one for industry professionals. The consumer report offers best practices for protection while the professional report looks at trends and on impacts to consumer behavior. You can download either report here.

Also check out Absolute Software's recent study with the Ponemon Institute: The Human Factor in Laptop Encryption.