Identity theft affects millions of people a year, and it’s a problem that has been growing each year thanks to the rise of online banking and commerce. In 2021, for example, there were 5.7 million consumer fraud reports filed in the United States, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). More than 25% of those were defined as identity theft, which increased by 113% from the year before. Total fraud cases accounted for $5.8 billion in losses in 2021.
Anyone, young and old, can become a victim of identity theft, and there are many warning signs. We’ve previously identified eight types of identity theft. Here are a few more things worth knowing about the criminal enterprise.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone illegally obtains identifying information about someone and uses it to commit fraud. This information could include names, birthdays, Social Security numbers, addresses, bank accounts, credit card numbers, driver’s license details, etc. Once armed with this information, criminals can open banking accounts and credit cards in a victim’s name, steal retirement or medical benefits, and even purchase real estate illegally. These acts, and many others, can damage someone’s credit status and cost them time and money to restore their good name.
What you might not know about identity theft
There are various details about identity theft that might surprise you including the ones below.
It’s a growing problem affecting everyone
As noted above,…