Information management is critically important to all of us - as employees and consumers. For that reason, the Identity Theft Resource Center has been tracking security breaches since 2005, looking for patterns, new trends and any information that may better help us to educate consumers and businesses on the need for understanding the value of protecting personal identifying information.
Looking back at the types of information compromised during 2015, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) saw an astronomical rise in the number of Social Security numbers (SSNs) exposed as a result of many high profile breaches. According to the ITRC’s 2015 Breach Report, there were more than 165 million SSN’s exposed, more than 10 times the number compromised in 2014. What makes this statistic even more staggering is the fact that there were two fewer data breaches in 2015 than were reported in 2014. Javelin Strategy & Research’s 2016 Identity Fraud: Fraud Hits an Inflection Point1, revealed that one in five data breach victims suffered fraud in 2015, rising notably from one in seven in 2014...
With this tremendous influx of SSNs on the black market, which are now quite likely in the hands of identity thieves, it may come as no surprise that new account fraud (NAF) is on the rise in the U.S.
Identity theft continues to be the highest reported consumer crime to the FTC, and has been for fifteen consecutive years. This demonstrates not only the seriousness of the crime itself, but also the need for better awareness and education aimed at consumer protection.
ITRC's research whitepaper, Identity Theft: #1 FTC Consumer Complaint 15 Consecutive Years, shows that while the numbers for 2014 are alarming, they do not come as a surprise to those active in the field.
“Communication aimed at a cross section of populations and the development of innovative programs and partnerships is more than just a good idea, it is absolutely necessary if we are to take this fight against identity theft and the related issues to a new level,” said Eva Velasquez, President/CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center.
ITRC would like to thank Terrell McSweeny, FTC Commissioner, and expert panelists John Breyault, Andy Bucholz, Lisa Schifferle, and Shawn Tiller for participating in the discussion of ITRC's research whitepaper, Identity Theft: #1 FTC Consumer Complaint 15 Consecutive Years. ITRC would also like to thank Google for supporting the whitepaper. The findings are yet another reminder that whether young or old, everyone is at risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.
To read the whitepaper, click here: Identity Theft: #1 Consumer Complaint 15 Consecutive Years
“It’s truly made me feel like nothing is safe” - ITRC Aftermath Respondent
Identity theft creates barriers to success that affect more than just the victim’s finances or the ability to obtain loans or credit. This crime can lead to the inability to obtain housing, employment, or even medical services including prescriptions needed to manage an existing or new health condition. When you combine this with the emotional and behavioral repercussions, one realizes how devastating this crime continues to be.
The ITRC’s Aftermath studies have always been recognized for their focus on addressing the impact of identity theft on its victims. The Aftermath 2016 report is the latest in this series of studies, which began in 2003.
For the last fourteen years, identity theft has been the number one reported complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) according to their annual report titled the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book. Javelin Strategy & Research has produced yearly studies, titled Identity Fraud Report, showing that the number of identity fraud victims increased from 10.2 million Americans in 2010 to 13.1 million in 2013.
The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) recently conducted a brief Facebook Social Media Survey to measure interaction trends between internet users and Facebook. The ITRC conducted this survey in order to better help victims with Facebook-related identity theft concerns and issues and received 446 responses.
From time to time, the ITRC develops and launches surveys to seek out consumer input and insight on identity theft and related issues. The information we gather during these surveys helps the ITRC develop new strategies and information to help you protect yourself from identity theft and related problems. We hope you will consider adding your name to the list of people willing to help us with these surveys and let your voice be heard. We appreciate your willingness to help!