Illuminate the Frequency of Fraud

ID theft affects 19 people each minute.

October 1, 2014


Lora Bray
Lora Bray

The prevalence of economic fraud has increased markedly in recent years.

One visible threat is identity (ID) theft, named the nation’s fastest-growing crime by TransUnion. ID theft affects about 19 people each minute, and according to one study, 32% of identity theft victims discovered that a family member or relative stole their identity.

Also, only 28% of identity theft cases involve credit or financial fraud. Phone, utility, banks, and employment fraud make up another 50% of cases.

Therefore, consumers need to be aware of many illicit activities.

The Identity Theft Resource Center defines an ID breach as “an event in which an individual’s name plus Social Security Number … driver’s license number, medical record, or a financial record/credit/debit card is potentially put at risk.”

Interesting facts of note:

  • As of Sept. 9, 2014, 533 total breaches had been identified for this year, with 18,721,149 records exposed;
  • In the banking/credit/financial category, the number of records at risk is 172,320; and
  • Most breaches thus far have occurred in the business category, at 36.2% of events.

“Identity theft is much more common than you may think,” says a LowCards Consumer Study. Also, ID theft “has become a major concern for the American consumer and is now having a significant impact on their shopping habits.”

Some statistics on credit card theft:

  • 13.5 million cases of card ID theft have occurred over the past 12 months;
  • 51% of ID theft involves card theft;
  • 25% of consumers are using cash with greater frequency;
  • 28% have reduced debit transactions; and
  • 94% are more or equally concerned about ID theft compared to last year.

Criminals committed more than 13.7 million unauthorized credit card transactions in 2012 resulting in $2.3 billion in fraudulent charges, according to the recently released 2013 Federal Reserve Payments Study.

Further, fraudsters exercised 1.3 million unauthorized ATM cash withdrawals totaling $256.3 million, an average withdrawal amount of $199.

“This is the first time the Fed study has addressed fraud related to payments,” notes “Bank Info Security” in its summary of the Fed’s findings. “What it confirms is that card fraud is banking institutions’ greatest pain point.”

LORA BRAY is an information research analyst for CUNA’s economics and statistic’s department. Follow her on Twitter via @Bray_Lora, and visit the CUNA blog, The Research Roundup: Economic Perspectives.