Three million fraud cases were reported to the FTC in 2018, and 444,602 of them involved identity theft. These reported cases (just think of how high the statistic would be if all cases were reported) amounts to the third most common type of fraud reported to the FTC.

According to The Motley Fool, of those reported cases, the largest percentage of identity theft fraud was perpetrated against California (73,668), Texas (45,030), Florida (37,797), New York (24,248) and Georgia (23,871) residents. Vermont reported the smallest number of identity theft cases. If you weigh in total population, the worst states for identity theft are Georgia, Nevada, and California.

Another interesting fact pointed out by The Motley Fool report is that individuals between the ages of 30 and 39 were targeted the most according to statistics of the FTC. Credit card fraud was the most common type of identity theft, stemming from data breaches affecting close to 450 million records in 2018. Hacking was the primary cause of data breaches in 2018.

The assumptions gathered from the report is that hacking is causing data breaches, and data breaches cause credit card fraud and identity theft. Although as a consumer, we have little control over the security measures of companies that we provide our personal information to or even know what measures are being taken to prevent hacking incidents, we can take some steps to try to protect ourselves in the inevitable event that our personal information is breached. Suggestions include monitoring our credit history and obtaining a free credit report every year to confirm that no new accounts have been opened in our name, placing a fraud alert or credit freeze on our credit accounts and using use two factor authentication whenever possible.

Happy holidays from our Data Privacy + Cybersecurity team here at Robinson+Cole. Be vigilant when using credit cards for all of that holiday shopping!