SAN FRANCISCO (3/4/15)--Fraudsters stole $16 billion from 12.7 million consumers in 2014, equaling one new identity fraud victim every two seconds, according to a recent study by Javelin Strategy and Research.
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Part of the problem may be that consumers aren't taking the threat of data breaches seriously enough, as the 2015 Identity Fraud Study also found that two-thirds of victims last year previously had received notices about a data breach.
"Despite the headlines, the occurrence of identity fraud hasn't changed much over the past year, and it is still a significant problem," said Al Pascual, Javelin Strategy and Research director of fraud and security.
While some steps to combat that problem have been taken, Pascual said "we must remain vigilant. The criminals will continue to find new ways to commit fraud, so taking advantage of available technology and services to protect against, detect and resolve identity fraud is a must for all individuals and corporations."
The study, which polled 58,800 respondents, found that the number of fraudulent accounts opened, or new account fraud, dropped in 2014. The number of victims of identity fraud also fell by 3% to 13.1 million from 12.7 million the prior year.
But given the amount of data stolen last year, consumers aren't nearly out of the woods, Pascual said.
"We don't want people to get a false impression," he said. "There is still a ton of personal information, a ton of card data out there."
CUNA continues to urge lawmakers to pass legislation that would ramp up data security requirements for merchants, which aren't held to the same very strict standards that financial institutions are required to uphold.