Saturday, February 13, 2010

New Javelin Study: ID Fraud Hits Record Highs

2009 Stats: 11.1 Million Victims, $54 Billion Lost
The number of identity fraud victims increased 12 percent to 11.1 million people in 2009 -- the second consecutive annual increase. At the same time, the total amount of fraud also increased by 12.5 percent to $54 billion. These are the headlines of the newly-released 2010 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research. 

"As the economy gets more challenging and more and more people are out of work, there is more identity fraud," says James Van Dyke, president and founder of Javelin. "[Fraud] is at the highest rate since Javelin began this report in 2003." The good news, Van Dyke says, is "Consumers are getting more aggressive in monitoring, detecting and preventing fraud with the help of technology and partnerships with financial institutions, government agencies and resolution services."

Fighting Back

Van Dyke says other findings in the report reinforce the trend that fraudsters are becoming increasingly technology-savvy and are using personal information stolen in data breaches to open new accounts or to make changes to existing non-card accounts. 

Organizations are fighting back by eliminating the use of Social Security numbers in account information, as well as more proactively monitoring and notifying customers of possible fraudulent activity. Consumers also are monitoring their accounts more frequently, using technologies such as the internet and mobile alerts. 

Despite the number of victims going up, the average amount taken in each fraud incident has gone down, as has the average amount of time it takes for the fraud to be resolved.