2017: ‘Worst Year Ever’ for Identity Fraud, According to Javelin; Plus Tips to Stay Safe

A total of 16.7 million individuals were affected by identity fraud in 2017, according to a new annual report from Javelin Strategy & Research. It’s the biggest number to date and an increase of 16 percent from 2016.

The study found that despite the efforts of the industry, fraudsters successfully adapted to net two million more victims this year with the amount fraudsters took rising by nearly one billion dollars to $16 billion,” according to a press release about the annual study. More U.S. consumers were notified of a breach in the past year as well, up to 30 percent from just 12 percent in 2016.

“After five years of relatively small growth or even decreases in fraud, this year’s findings drives home that fraudsters never rest and when one area is closed, they adapt and find new approaches,” said Al Pascual, senior vice president, research director and head of fraud & security, Javelin Strategy & Research. “The rise of information available via data breaches is particularly troublesome for the industry and a boon for fraudsters. To successfully fight fraudsters, the industry needs to close security gaps and continue to improve and consumers must be proactive too.”

Other notable highlights from the latest report:

  • Social Security numbers (35 percent) were compromised more than credit card numbers (30 percent) for the first time ever.
  • Account takeover fraud tripled and reached a four-year high in 2017.
  • Victims of Account Takeover fraud paid an average of $290 out of pocket and spent 15 hours resolving the fraud.
  • The majority of the fraud is card-not-present fraud, which is 81 percent more prevalent than point-of-sale fraud. This is likely thanks to EMV technology, which has made the thieves more aggressively target online channels.


Which persona are you?

This year’s study also identified and analyzed four consumer personas: offline consumers, social networkers, e-commerce shoppers and digitally connected. While offline consumers are exposed to less fraud risk than their connected counterparts, it can take much longer for them to detect fraud. Meanwhile, social networkers have a 46 percent higher risk of account takeover fraud and e-commerce shoppers experience the highest prevalence of fraud from any of the four personas, but tend to catch it the quickest as well, minimizing impact.


To stay safe, we have five quick recommendations:

  1. Enable two-factor authentication and online alerts wherever you can
  2. Don’t overshare on social media
  3. Create strong passwords and don’t reuse them
  4. Place a credit freeze
  5. Sign up for LibertyID


Image: Pixabay

Are you protected from identity theft?
Get Protected