Javelin Strategy & Research has issued its 2010 report on identity fraud occurrences from 2009. Key highlights from the report show that while the instances of identity theft reached record numbers in 2009, victims spent less time and money recovering from the crime.
According to Javelin, the number of identity fraud victims increased by 12% in 2009 and the amount of fraud increased by 12.5%. This is the highest rate of increase in the seven years that the company has been issuing the report.
New account fraud represents 39% of all 2009 fraud cases, versus 33% in 2008. Many of these fraudulent accounts were opened online. New account fraud isn't limited to credit card accounts. Fraudulent cell phone accounts make up 29% of total new account fraud.
Existing credit cards are also highly targeted, making up 75% of fraud attacks on existing accounts.
If a company you’ve done business with suffers a data breach, the thieves are most likely to steal your name, address, and other personal stored information. Thieves could use this information in a phishing attempt to get more information from you, like your bank account number or PIN. On the upside, fewer Social Security numbers were compromised in company data breaches in 2009 than in 2008.
Identity fraud victims were more aggressive with reporting fraud – 50% of victims filed a police report, which helped lead to arrests and convictions in identity theft cases.
While the overall number of victims increased, Javelin says both the fraud costs per victim and the time required to resolve the fraud decreased. This means that consumers are spending less time and money clearing their names from fraud cases.
Whether you’ve been an identity theft victim in the past or not, you should continue to take steps to detect and prevent identity theft. Protecting your identity means monitoring your existing accounts and watching out for new accounts being opened in your name.