2021 ITRC Trends in Identity Report Shows 1,044% Rise in Social Media Account Hijacking; 88% increase in unemployment benefit identity fraud
SAN DIEGO, August 17, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC), a nationally recognized non-profit organization established to support victims of identity crime, has released its first-ever report looking at identity crimes committed against individuals , as reported by the Victims of these crimes – the ITRC’s 2021 Trends in Identity Report.
In the report, the ITRC identifies the identity scams reported in 2021 and how criminals convinced people to willingly share information they know should be protected. The report also highlights how stolen information was used to open new accounts and offers tips on what people can do to protect themselves and their information.
In 2021, the ITRC received the most contacts in its history on identity crime and requests for assistance in preventing identity abuse. Identity fraud was the top reason victims leaked personally identifiable information (PII) to criminals, and Google Voice fraud was the most commonly reported identity-related fraud at 53 percent.
The ITRC saw gains in 2021 in the following areas:
Reports from victims of non-financial account takeovers (up 235 percent from 2020)
Adoption of social media accounts (up 1,044 percent from 2020)
Impersonation using government credentials or accounts (154 percent increase from 2019 to 2020 and seven (7) percent increase from 2020 to 2021)
Download the ITRC’s 2021 Trends in Identity Report
“If we look back at 2021, it was a record year in so many different areas,” he said Eva Velasquez, President and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center. “We have seen many different forms of identity crimes reach levels not seen since our inception in 1999. With the high water levels for identity fraud, compromise, and abuse, it’s important to take protective measures like freezing your credit with strong 12+ characters, unique passphrases on all your accounts, and ignoring suspicious messages.”
According to the 2021 Trends in Identity Report, the ITRC also saw an increase in government identity abuse. Small Business Administration (SBA) credit abuse increased 288 percent. This grew by 4,000 percent from 2018 to 2020. There was also a 32 percent increase in fraudulently filed taxes. In terms of financial account impersonation trends, 37 percent of all account takeovers were bank accounts or financial accounts. Thirty-six (36) percent of new account fraud was credit card accounts and new account fraud increased eight (8) percent year-over-year due to new accounts being opened.
In the Trends in Identity report, the ITRC offers tips on how to stay alert:
To reduce the risk of a social media scam leading to an account takeover, watch out for a direct message from “friends” and followers saying you can win or make easy money. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t click on links in a message you’re not expecting. Instead, go straight to the source to verify the validity of the message. Do not share any personal information.
To reduce the risk of identity fraud related to pandemic relief, lock your funds, protect your personal information, and use strong and unique passwords. Take the same steps to stay alert for new account scams.
Consumers and victims can get free support and guidance from a knowledgeable live counselor by calling 888.400.5530 or visiting idtheftcenter.org on live chat.
About the Identity Theft Resource Center
Founded in 1999, the Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC) is a national non-profit organization established to empower and guide consumers, victims, businesses and governments to mitigate risk and reduce the impact of identity theft and crime. Through public and private support, the ITRC provides free victim support and consumer education through its live chat website, idtheftcenter.org, and toll-free number 888.400.5530. The ITRC also provides consumers and businesses with information about recent data breaches through its data breach tracking tool, Notifies. The ITRC provides assistance to specific population groups, including deaf/hard of hearing and blind/visually impaired communities.
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SOURCE Identity Theft Resource Center