Identity Theft Statistics & Holiday Shopping

Identity theft statistics, dry as melba toast, have something to teach us about shopping this Holiday season. Listening to the media, you would think that the Internet and cybercrime are to blame for most cases of identity theft. They are biased toward technology stories because they are new and interesting (actually, they are starting to get old). If it’s not hackers and phishers, then its war driving and key logging.

But their technological bias is Wrong.

Cybercrime only accounts for 11% of actual identity fraud cases in the latest Javelin study and online shopping accounts for a meager 1%!

When it comes to victims having their identity stolen while making in-store purchases, women have a 94% incident rate and men only 43%. Women tend to shop more in stores, men online.
There is an important lesson in this confusion between reality and perception: don’t automatically believe everything you hear, especially in the media.  It’s sexy to write about cybercrime, but the disproportionate amount of attention it receives gives us a false sense that it is the leading cause of identity theft. As you start your holiday shopping, don’t be afraid to shop online, but only if you have protected your computer and internet connection properly.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Technology plays a smaller role in identity theft than we perceive
  • Most known cases of fraud are committed when the criminal has direct, physical access to the victim’s information
  • 43% of identity theft cases are the result of a lost or stolen wallet, checkbook, credit card or physical document
  • Friends and family members end up being the thief in a significant number of identity theft cases

– Statistics from The 2009 Identity Fraud Survey, Javelin Research

John Sileo speaks around the world on identity theft, privacy, social networking exposure, cyber crime, social engineering and other topics of information survival. His clients include the Department of Defense, Blue Cross, FDIC, Pfizer and hundreds of organizations of all sizes. He also coaches select clients on information survival. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076.

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