Among the most prevalent forms of cybercrime is identity fraud, which is typically divided into two subcategories.
Traditional identity fraud happens when criminals leverage their victims’ information to steal money. Then there are identify fraud scams, in which criminals trick victims into sharing their information voluntarily.
One recent study estimates that 42 million U.S. adults were affected by these types of fraud last year, costing them $52 billion. The study also found that both types of fraud saw significant increases in 2021, with traditional identify fraud up 79% over the previous year.
Other subsets of identity fraud grew as well: credit card fraud rose by 69%, frauds affecting checking, savings, utilities and insurance climbed 73%, account takeover losses jumped 90% and new account fraud increased a whopping 109%.
Meanwhile, adults with bank accounts and other valuable information aren’t the only targets of cybercriminals. A recent study showed that 1 out of every 50 children in America had been the victim of an identity theft, while 1 in 45 had been hit by a data breach.
Losses stemming from these incidents amounted to $737 per family, although overall losses added up to $918 million. Families took — on average — 13 hours to resolve these incidents, longer than the average for adult victims.
The study also concluded that a bulk child-focused identity fraud is committed by someone close to home, with 73% of victims knowing the perpetrators. In these cases, the scammer is often a parent’s partner, relative or family friend with access to the child’s social media login information, which let them access other accounts that use the same password.
In other cases, bad actors exploit personal relationships to get children to turn over personal information and then leverage it to access their accounts.
For more on the ever-evolving world of cyber fraud — and ways to deal with it — download the latest Monetizing Digital Intent Tracker, a PYMNTS and Neuro-ID collaboration.