2022 is blowing by like a spring breeze, and year’s first quarter is already in the books. With winter in the rearview mirror and longer days of summer soon creeping over the horizon, there’s plenty to be excited about. Brighter times are ahead, whether you have long overdue travels approaching or are just looking forward to a more ‘normal’ summer after a trying couple of pandemic-tinged years.
Below is a quick look at some of the key statistics and issues surrounding the state of identity fraud and cybercrime that you should keep on the radar moving into the rest of the year. Awareness, planning, and preparation are all critical to reducing risks for yourself and your loved ones. Cyberthreats and all the concerns they create are here to stay but keeping yourself informed is one easy step that you can take to combat a modern problem that affects us all.
The Numbers Keep Rising
Let’s start by highlighting some statistics on cybercrime and identity fraud. As you might imagine, 2021 was another year of dramatic rises in the amount of money that threat actors scammed from people and businesses, alongside a rise in the overall number of affected individuals.
According to a recent, aptly titled study put out by research group Javelin – The Virtual Battleground – total losses involving identity fraud scams and traditional identity fraud reached $52 billion and affected 42 million people in the US alone in year 2021. The study also showed that 2021 marked nearly an 80% rise in traditional fraud losses compared to the previous year while affecting 50% more people.
Other findings from this study show that the total cost of an identity fraud increased to over $1,500 per incident, while taking an average of nine hours to resolve. So, not only are more people falling victim to identity fraud than ever before, but they are also spending more time and resources to take care of it.
New Scams Appear While Old Tactics Remain Effective
Every time there is progress made towards addressing a scam, criminals come up with ways around the solution or create a new con altogether. While this can be frustrating for every victim or informed individual attempting to limit their risks, it’s a fact that will remain. You need to keep yourself informed of new scams while also noting every other threat that is out there.
Some scams that have emerged recently include SIM card scams and one-time password bot scams.
SIM scams can occur when a scammer gets access to your phone number and uses it to scam a cell provider into sending them a new phone with another SIM card. The scammer can then open new cell phone account or gain access to your financial accounts. Check out the SIM card scam in more detail here.
One-time password bot scams involve a scammed phone call or text that tricks victims into revealing a multi-factor authentication password. A victim will receive a call stating that an account they hold has been compromised. They then instruct to victim to tell them a one-time authentication password that was just sent. But the scammers on the end of the line are attempting to access an account the victim holds and revealing this information will give them access to that account.
While we’re on the topic of scam texts and calls, robocalls continue to be an issue for nearly all of us. Requesting that your telephone number be placed on the national Do Not Call Registry is a good first step to combating the problem. Still, there is no surefire way to prevent the calls outright. Getting on the list will stop telemarketing calls from coming in but will still allow charities, surveys, political groups, and yes, scammers, to call you. But at least it will limit unsolicited calls a bit and help you remain skeptical of potential incoming scams.
Old scam tactics that continue to be effective include Zelle and other digital payment app scams, online purchase scams, and cryptocurrency scams. These all remain common and reflect the growing consumer reliance on digital purchases and payments. Deceased individual fraud, which occurs more than you might think, is also worth highlighting here. Thieves steal the identities of nearly 2.5 million deceased individuals every year and use this information to commit many types of fraud. This alarming issue can further complicate things for anyone dealing with the recent loss of a loved one which is already a traumatic event.
New Consumer Privacy Laws
On a more positive note, more states are adopting in-depth consumer privacy laws concerning what data companies can gather and store on their customers. Utah became the fourth state to enact this type of legislation – joining California, Colorado, and Virginia. The Utah law doesn’t go into effect until the end of 2023, but it still marks a growing positive trend for the average consumer.
Consumer privacy laws help dictate how much data companies can gather from their customers and what they can do with this information. The legislation also typically spells out how the companies need to handle a data breach in terms of the breached company’s obligation to report to consumers in a timely manner.
There have been rumors of regulations at the federal level with consumer privacy issues. But for now, these state measures are the best news for the average citizen living in the states mentioned above. Other states have had similar proposals partially pass through the law-making process without making it on the books, but the trend seems to point in the consumer-friendly direction.
Individuals are More Aware Than Ever
Despite growing financial losses, increasing numbers of identity fraud victims, and other alarming trends, more individuals are aware of the many risks than ever before. This is good news in the face of a troubling situation. The more aware you are, the more you can educate yourself on how to reduce your chances of identity fraud and other forms of cybercrime. There is no way to prevent it from happening completely, and these issues will continue to be an integral but unfortunate aspect of our modern lives.
But by your recognizing the common scams out there and making an effort to adopt better digital habits, you can establish practices that will enable you to spot threats before falling for them and to better deal with instances of fraud when they do arise.
LibertyID provides expert, full service, fully managed identity theft restoration to individuals, couples, extended families* and businesses. LibertyID has a 100% success rate in resolving all forms of identity fraud on behalf of our subscribers.
*LibertyID defines an extended family as: you, your spouse/partner, your parents and parents-in-law, and your children under the age of 25.