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Identity theft continues to pose challenges for consumers as criminals develop new mechanisms to commit fraud. According to the 2019 identity fraud study from Javelin Strategy & Research, the number of consumers who were victims of identity fraud fell to 14.4 million in 2018, down from a record high of 16.7 million in 2017. However, identity fraud victims in 2018 bore a heavier financial burden: 3.3 million people were responsible for some of the liability of the fraud committed against them, nearly three times as many as in 2016. Moreover, these victims’ out-of-pocket fraud costs more than doubled from 2016 to 2018 to $1.7 billion. New account fraud losses also rose slightly, with criminals beginning to focus their attention on different financial accounts, such as loyalty and rewards programs and retirement accounts. Additionally, criminals are becoming adept at foiling authentication processes, particularly mobile phone account takeovers. These takeovers nearly doubled to 680,000 victims in 2018, compared with 380,000 in 2017. The study does note that the shift to embedded chip cards is helping to contain existing card fraud, which showed the steepest decline of any fraud type in 2018, with losses at $14.7 billion in 2018, down from $16.8 billion in 2017.

rned their email, financial accounts or social media info could be hacked, up from 69% in a similar survey conducted in 2015.


Of the 3 million identity theft and fraud reports received in. 2018, 1.4 million were fraud-related, and 25 percent of those cases reported money was lost. In 2018, consumers reported losing about $1.48 billion related to fraud complaints, an increase of $406 million from 2017. The median amount consumers paid in these cases was $375. Within the fraud category, imposter scams were the most reported and ranked first among the top 10 fraud categories identified by the FTC. They accounted for $488 million in losses. In 2018, 15 percent of all complaints were related to identity theft. Identity theft complaints were the third most reported to the FTC. Identity theft claims fell from 2015 to 2018 by 9.3 percent, but began to increase again in 2018 and were up 19.8 percent from 2017 to 2018.


1. Credit Card Fraud reports 133,015

2. Employment or tax-related fraud reports 82,051

3. Phone or utilities fraud reports 55,045

4. Bank fraud reports 50,517

5. Loan or lease fraud reports 30,034

6. Government documents or benefits fraud reports 25,849 

Fraud Statistics

Consumers reported $905 million in total fraud losses in 2017, a 21.6% increase over 2016. The with a median amount lost was $429.

Consumers reported $905 million in total fraud losses in 2017.

21% of the consumers who reported a fraud-related complaint lost money. The most common method money was paid out was via wire transfer.

64% of all fraud-related complaints reported the method of initial contact.

Of those complaints, 69.8% said the telephone and 9.7% said e-mail.

Only 5% of those consumers reported mail as the initial point of contact.



Once identity thieves have your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, open new utility accounts, get medical treatment on your health insurance or even apply for a student loan. If you suspect that someone is using your personal information without your knowledge or permission, acting quickly is the best way to limit the damage. Identity thieves are resourceful: they rummage through your garbage, or public dumps. They may work - or pretend to work - for legitimate companies like medical offices, clinics, pharmacies, or government agencies. Some thieves pretend to represent an institution you trust, and try to trick you into revealing personal information by email or phone.    

The following could be the signs of fraudulent activity:

1. When you see withdrawals from your bank account that you cannot explain

2. You don't get your bills or other mail

3.Merchants refuse your checks

4.Debt collectors call you about debts that are not yours

5.You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report

6.Medical Providers bill you for services you did not use

7.The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you do not work for.

When you apply for a credit and you are declined it is always good idea to pull out your credit report from all credit reporting agencies to understand what might be the problem for denial. After looking at your report, if you will find unknown credit or collection accounts that you do not recognize as yours go to your local police station with your credit report and file an Identity Theft Police Report. After filing your police report request an initial fraud alert to be placed on your credit report with credit reporting companies.

What Is a Fraud Alert?

Placing a fraud alert on your credit report tells lenders and creditors that they must always verify your identification by contacting you before extending a credit line or loan in your name. This can help protect your identity from future fraud by preventing a thief from opening any new accounts in your name. There are three types of fraud alerts:

1. Initial Fraud Alert. If you are concerned about identity theft, but haven't yet become a victim. This fraud alert will protect your credit from unverified access for at least 90 days.

2. Extended Fraud Alert. For victims of Identity theft, an extended fraud alert will protect your credit for 7 years.

3. Active Duty Military Alert. For those in the military who want to protect their credit while deployed, this type of fraud alert will last for one year.

Once you have placed a fraud alert on your credit report, you can remove it at any time. In order to initiate a fraud alert, you need to contact one of the three credit bureaus and that bureau will be required to notify the other two credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your file.

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