The nation’s top crime shows no sign of slowing down though there is one glimmer of hope.

Last year there were almost 17 million cases of identity theft and most of them took place while we were shopping in our own homes.

The majority (81 percent) of incidents happened while consumers shopped online than at the store, says a fraud study from Javelin Strategy & Research, financial advice company. But the good news is it’s safer to use your credit card at the grocery store — for now.

“2017 was a runaway year for fraudsters, and with the amount of valid information they have on consumers, their attacks are just getting more complex,” says Al Pascual, senior vice president, research director and head of fraud & security, Javelin Strategy & Research. “Fraudsters are growing more sophisticated in response to industry’s efforts to implement better security.”

Identity fraud on the rise:

  • 1.3 million new victims
  • $16.8 billion stolen
  • 30 percent of U.S. consumers affected
  • 35 percent were of Social Security numbers
  • 30 percent were credit cards

Insecure Information

Last year there was a significant increase in identity thieves getting a hold of personal identifying information. This happens when cyber thieves hack into the data bases of banks, hospitals, schools — or even a personal email account, for various identifiable information to commit fraud.

They may look for Social Security numbers, first and last names, a victims mother’s maiden name, address or the place they were born.

There was a 61 percent increase of this last year, says GIACT Systems. This type of identity theft added up to $263 on average loss to victims last year.

“The industry needs a new model of identity-proofing to close the security gaps,” Pascual says. “Most of the tools currently deployed are outdated and create vulnerabilities that savvy fraudsters can easily exploit.”

Latest trends in identity theft

Account Takeover Fraud, is when an identity thief obtains your personal information, like your Social Security number, name or address to steal from various credit card or bank accounts already in your name.

There was a 7 percent increase of this type of fraud last year. Almost a million people in the U.S. were affected last year. These incidents increased 120 percent from 2016 and costs Americans $5.1 billion.

New Account Fraud, happens when they take your information to create new accounts. Often the victims don’t even realize until a bill comes in the mail.

New tech, same crime

As new technology is created to combat identity theft, thieves just find new ways to commit fraud. New technology on credit cards has shown improvements with credit shopping in stores. But they’re just shifting to theft online instead.

Adding EMV chips to credit cards has slowed down the amount of identity theft incidents in stores. EMV is just named after the three credit card companies that developed the technology. Which is Europay, MasterCard and Visa.

But, thieves are just make shifting fraudulent accounts using stolen information and fabricated information. This type of fraud is called Synthetic Identity theft, a thief may have gotten their hands on a Social Security number, so they create a fake name, and banks can’t tell the difference.

The keep the accounts open long enough that they seem legitimate. GIACT estimates this type of fraud cost the credit card industry $6 billion last year. Victims took a hard loss of $15,000 per incident last year.

“Identity and payments fraud are now impacting more consumers than ever before,” says David Barnhardt, executive vice president of product at GIACT. “Not only are incidences of true name and synthetic identity fraud increasing year-over-year, the financial and human costs of identifying and remediating incidences of loss are climbing.”



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Meet the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of

Credit & Debt, Tech

identity theft, internet security, shop online

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Article last modified on July 5, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Identity Theft: More Awareness, More Crime - AMP.