BACK

Research and Statistics

Study: ID theft hits an all-time high again

Summary

ID theft incidents are spreading to many different account types, a Javelin study finds

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers; and please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

For the second year in a row, identity fraud has surged to a new high, affecting 1.3 million more Americans than 2016, with identity thieves targeting many more account types than credit and debit cards.

Javelin Strategy & Research reports that in 2017, 16.7 million Americans – or 6.6 percent of the total population – were the victims of some kind of identity fraud. That’s up from 15.4 million in 2016, when the share was 6.2 percent.

From 2012 to 2015, fraud victims had hovered steadily between 5.2 and 5.4 percent of U.S. consumers, just barely breaking 13 million Americans. But 2016 saw the incidence rate shoot up, with 2017 extending the trend even higher.

Among seven categories of fraud that comprise Javelin’s overall fraud tally, all saw significant increases since 2016 except for point-of-sale fraud, which is down due to the broad rollout of chip-enabled cards. But new account fraud moved up 80 percent (0.74 to 1.33 percent), existing non-card fraud more than doubled (1.17 to 2.52 percent), and account takeover fraud came close to tripling (0.57 to 1.58 percent).

As in years past, credit cards are still the most commonly compromised account type, but now just by a hair. That’s because 2017 saw the percentage of victims who experienced fraud with a credit card account dropping from 30 percent to 26 percent, while fraud involving mobile phone accounts surged to 25 percent of victims.

Indeed, nine types of consumer accounts saw notable increases in fraud rates as the share of credit card fraud dropped. Though mobile phone accounts are now the second-most common account affected by identity theft, PayPal and other e-payment accounts saw the biggest upturn from 2016 to 2017, swelling 16 points from 6 percent of victims to 22 percent in 2017.

Other account types showing significant upticks in identity fraud over the one-year period were home equity loans and lines of credit (up 10 percentage points), first mortgages (up 9 points), and online shopping accounts (up 8 points).

Javelin’s identity fraud analysis is based on a survey of 5,000 U.S. adults conducted in the first half of November 2017, with results weighted to mirror U.S. Census demographics. It releases its annual report every February.

Fraud hits an all-time high

See related:Infographic: Identity fraud victims at record high, More infographics

What’s up next?

In Research and Statistics

Poll: Lending out your credit card often leads to disaster

Nearly half of Americans who have owned credit cards lent them out to other people. For a third of them, it didn’t end well.

Published: March 7, 2018

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: September 11th, 2019
Business
15.45%
Airline
17.38%
Cash Back
17.53%
Reward
17.40%
Student
17.58%

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company’s business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.