20 Worrying Identity Theft Statistics for 2022

Written By
Julija A.
Updated
August 08,2022

Not so long ago, when we thought about theft, we imagined a house being robbed or someone getting mugged in the street. These crimes are far from harmless, but the devil was at least visible. The problem with identity theft is that you don’t know you’re in danger until the crime has already been committed.

As tech advances to keep people safe, criminals evolve in parallel, becoming more adept at stealing data. While far from pleasant, this is something you need to be aware of: We’re here with the latest identity theft stats to keep you vigilant.

Editor’s Choice Statistics

  • 33% of citizens in the US have experienced identity theft.
  • The FTC handled 2.2 million fraud reports in 2020.
  • One million child identity theft incidents occurred in 2020.
  • Every year, 15 million Americans become victims of identity theft.
 

Identity theft cost people in the US $56 billion in 2020.

(Javelin)

Well over 49 million people were victims of identity theft in 2020. This resulted in $13 billion in damages from “traditional” identity theft, i.e., people losing their info through data breaches and similar attacks. On the other hand, one of the strangest statistics is that the majority of the losses ($43 billion) stemmed from direct-interaction scams, such as phishing emails. In other words, bad actors are getting bolder and are willing to target people directly.

2.2 Million fraud reports were filed with the FTC in 2020.

(FTC)

Consumers have also stated that they lost $3.3 billion in fraud in the same year. That’s nearly double the money lost the same way in 2019 - $1.8 million. When you look at the statistics released by the FTC, you will soon see that imposter scams were the most common type of fraud; as mentioned, this is one of the most shocking ID theft stats.

Someone becomes the victim of identity fraud every 14 seconds.

(FTC)

Studies have also shown that every 14 seconds, someone becomes a victim of identity theft in the US. In light of the sharp rise in attacks we’ve seen in recent years, more and more people are calling for online data to be better protected.

Identity theft affected around 0.6% of the US population in 2020.

(FTC)

Identity theft also disproportionately affects the older population. One explanation for this is that the elderly aren’t always tech-savvy and often cannot tell the difference between a legitimate site or email and those that are fake.

33% of Americans have been the victim of identity theft.

(Proof Point)

ID theft statistics show that 33% of Americans have been the victim of identity theft at some point in their lives. This is three times higher than the numbers from Germany or even France. It is also double the world average. US respondents leave their social media more open than worldwide users, making them vulnerable by exposing their information to cyber thieves.

Credit card fraud is the most common kind of identity theft.

(FTC)

The FTC has found that credit card theft was the most common type of identity fraud in 2020 and 2021. The FTC has received nearly 18,000 reports from various individuals who have stated that their information has been used to gain access to their credit card accounts illegally.

People active on social media are more likely to have their details stolen.

(Business News Daily)

People who are active on social media are 30% more likely to have their details stolen when compared to other people. These are the main channels where attackers seek out targets. Identity theft statistics also show that Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram are exposed to an even higher level of risk, which propels the statistic to 46%.

Most stolen identities were used to apply for government documents and benefits in 2020.

(FTC)

The second most common target of stolen ID use is credit card fraud. Following that, you have bank fraud and utility fraud. The millions of people who have been affected by these crimes often experience considerable financial, psychological, and reputational damage.

15 million US citizens experience identity theft every year.

(Crime Museum)

15 million people in the US experience identity theft every single year. This results in $50 billion in financial losses. This equates to 4.5% of all US residents, with an average loss of $3,500.

2.5 million identities are stolen every year.

(Time)

Identity theft statistics also show that the dead can become victims of cybercrime. There have been over 800,000 incidents where criminals have exploited the identities of the deceased to open credit cards or even get a cell phone plan. Studies have also shown that twice as many thieves used a fake Social Security number belonging to those who have passed away.

One out of five people in the EU have experienced identity theft

(GRC World)

When you look at the latest cybercrime statistics for Europe, you will soon find that more than half of Europeans (56%) have been the victim of cybercrime at least once in the last two years. Identity theft is the second-most common type of cyber-attack, with one-third of the 56% mentioned above being victims. The UK is the most vulnerable, with 53% of respondents from this country having reported some kind of ID theft. Ireland has a rate of 50%, and France comes in third, at 45%.

Californians are the main target for identity theft.

(FTC)

The FTC has found that Californians are the primary target for identity theft, with recent statistics showing that 147,382 complaints were filed from this state alone. This makes the state one of the top targets for cybercrime. If you look at the statistics for the top five worst US states by identity theft, you will see that Illinois comes in second with 135,038 cases, Texas has 134,788 cases, Florida is at 101,367 cases, and Georgia comes last at 69,487 cases.

Millennials account for around 35% of fraud cases in the US.

(FTC)

The FTC received 2.2 million reports of fraud in 2020. People between the ages of 20 and 40 account for 35% of those reports. On the other hand, people over 70 only accounted for 8% of reports. However, the average financial losses experienced by the older population were much higher compared to the younger generations, despite the totals being bigger for Millenials.

The 60 to 69 age group lost the most in fraud-induced expenses.

(FTC)

Baby Boomers lost the most to identity theft in 2020 and 2021. However, identity theft statistics for 2021 also show that they are in fourth place in terms of report numbers. This means scams are particularly costly per person for this age group.

Over 1.3 million children have fallen victim to identity theft.

(Michigan State University)

Over 1.3 million young children become the victims of identity theft every year. Studies have also shown that 50% of those youngsters are the age of six or younger, and that the average age is decreasing.

Families are expected to pay $540 million out of pocket to account for fraud damage from scammed children.

(GIZMODO)

Data from 2017 shows that $2.6 billion in damages may be attributed to cybercrime involving children. Only 7% of adults know the person responsible for identity theft. However, when you look at children, you will see that this percentage skyrockets to 60%. More often than not, crimes involving children are perpetrated by someone who knows them.

3% to 10% of the annual health budget in the US is lost to fraud.

(NHCAA)

While that number is alarming in itself, it’s worsened by the fact that medical identity theft accounts for 2 million cases of fraud to date. Considering the price of health insurance in the US, this is a life-threatening figure for many.

(FTC)

According to online fraud statistics, this type of fraud was the fifth most commonly reported in 2020. It had the most significant spike in the second quarter of 2020 - when the pandemic first hit - and has been on a slow decline since.

Credit card account fraud accounted for 48% of all fraud complaints in the UK in 2019.

(UKFinance)

The same percentage represents the annual increase from 2018 to 2019 in personal losses incurred by police and bank impersonation scams. The sheer number of cases increased by 112% in the same period.

Gross losses from gift card fraud in 2021 exceed $148 million.

(FTC)

Unfortunately, cybercrime statistics account for the dark side of gift-giving too. Gross losses from fraudulent gift card redeeming saw a sharp uptick in the first three quarters of 2021, already surpassing the numbers for all of 2020. This can be traced back to over 40,000 consumers who used gift cards to pay criminals.

Summary

Fraud is a major issue, but it is possible to protect yourself by taking the right steps. First, make yourself aware of the various signs of identity fraud in its earlier stages. Combine this with regularly checking your credit report, two-step verification whenever possible, varied passwords, and private social media, and you can significantly reduce your chances of being targeted and exploited by criminals.

FAQ

How many identities are stolen each year?

+

Around 15 million Americans have their identity stolen every year. Identity theft is one of the most rampant crimes in the US. Although FTC’s official estimates put the number at 9 million, the agency warned that many cases go unreported, especially by the older population.

What are the odds of being a victim of identity theft?

+

Studies have found that 4.5% of people in the US become victims of identity fraud every year. Americans are much more likely to have their identity stolen when compared to other people. One million children also become victims of fraud crimes every year.

Who is the most at risk for identity theft?

+

According to online fraud statistics in 2020 and 2021, the age group targeted the most was those between 30 and 39. However, older people are at risk of losing more than younger generations, on average.

Sources

About author

Albert Einstein is said to have identified compound interest as mankind’s greatest invention. That story’s probably apocryphal, but it conveys a deep truth about the power of fiscal policy to change the world along with our daily lives. Civilization became possible only when Sumerians of the Bronze Age invented money. Today, economic issues influence every aspect of daily life. My job at Fortunly is an opportunity to analyze government policies and banking practices, sharing the results of my research in articles that can help you make better, smarter decisions for yourself and your family.

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