Today’s blog is some “kind of” good news in the world of Identity Theft— according to a study released recently by Javelin Strategy & Research, despite a series of large-scale data breaches over the past two years, identity theft fell for the second consecutive year in a row in the U.S. Roughly 12.7 million Americans were hit with identity fraud in 2014, a 3% drop from a year earlier, while losses tied to that fraud fell 11% to $16 billion.
The crime itself is still rampant; the difference is as individuals and society as a whole are more aware of the issue and taking precautions to a greater degree. Banks and others are getting better at protecting customers’ data in the wake of breaches.
The decrease was attributable in part to the Target breach in 2013. After it occurred, 95% of affected cards were replaced.
Because the Target breach was so high-profile, banks went on the offensive, and the value of the stolen cards on the black market plummeted.
The measures taken by the government to increase awareness and culpability in the business community are working. Every state attorney general has the power to fine businesses that were breached and require businesses to provide identity protection to victims.
It’s only a drop in the bucket though. Identity theft continues to be a huge problem and a huge threat.
In a recent report, The Federal Trade Commission said identity fraud is the number-one type of consumer complaint it receives. Out of more than 2.5 million total complaints filed with the FTC in 2014, 332,000 (13%) were related to identity theft. The previous year, 2.2 million complaints were filed and 13% were of identity fraud. (The FTC’s data also show a sharp uptick in impostor scams, particularly those related to tax identity fraud.)
The bottom line is education and awareness remain key—as well as continued vigilance by individuals and businesses.
For more on best practices to prevent identity theft, please visit www.hvhsred.com