The new 2021 Identity Fraud Study, released today by Javelin Strategy & Research, part of the Escalent family, revealed that total combined fraud losses climbed to $56 billion in 2020. This is bg climb from 2019, when the losses were reported as $16 million.
What drove the identity fraud numbers to escalate?
The pandemic has opened up a lot of new avenues for fraud. Changes in consumer behavior, including the way people bank and shop created new opportunity for fraudsters. As fears escalated, people isolated and stores closed, many flocked to their online banking and ecommerce sites. As a result, mobile malware was already up 50% by the first half of 2020 and account takeovers saw a 72% increase from the prior year.
In 2020, unemployment claims reached record highs. Once again, cybercriminals pounced on the opportunity for mass financial gain as unemployment fraud skyrocketed.
In 2020, we also see an increase in email and texts, for both business and personal life, making these tools a target for hackers. People spent more time at home in 2020 and they stayed connected to family and friends via email and texts. Employees working from home, adopted remote-collaboration platforms such as Teams and Zoom as their go-to tools for information and file sharing. This includes using the app's instant messaging feature.
An increase in stolen data in 2020 will impact the security of Americans for years to come.
In the second quarter of 2020, just two breaches alone were responsible for more than 18 billion of the 27 billion records put at risk. This was more than 4x higher than any previously reported period. The stolen data includes names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdates and more personal identifiable information. Hackers will use this stolen data to target victims in the future.
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