U.S. Identity Theft: The Stark Reality

Losses due to identity theft increased by 42% from 2019 to 2020, primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Boston, March 9, 2021 – Identity theft is a growing problem in the U.S. In 2019, losses from identity theft cases were US$502.5 billion and rapidly increased to US$712.4 billion in 2020, a 42% increase year-over-year. Identity theft losses grew very rapidly in 2020 (and will continue in 2021) due to the very high rate of unemployment identity theft during the pandemic. Unemployment benefits were increased, and the length of time to draw unemployment was extended, making this a very attractive target for fraudsters. Aite Group projects that losses from all identity theft will grow to US$635.4 by 2023.

This report examines how victims of identity theft are impacted in the real world. It explores the ramifications to financial institutions when identity theft occurs and examines how consumer banking behaviors changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. GIACT, an industry leader in payments and identity fraud prevention, commissioned Aite Group to conduct an online quantitative survey in December of 2020, and 8,653 U.S. consumers aged 18 or older were surveyed. Of those, 4,101 (47%) experienced financial identity theft. This survey forms the basis of this report.

This 46-page Impact Report contains 39 figures and one table. Clients of Aite Group’s Fraud & AML service can download this report, the corresponding charts, and the Executive Impact Deck.

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