What Are Your Odds of Getting Your Identity Stolen?
Some analysts estimate that you’re four times more likely to be killed by an asteroid than to have a winning Powerball ticket. Others noted that you’d have a better chance of becoming president, getting struck by lightning, or winning an Olympic gold medal. In fact, to win any lottery often involves dismal chances, averaging about 1 in 100 million.
If only those were the same odds as becoming a victim of identity theft.
Unfortunately, even though people may think this type of criminal activity is somewhat rare, identity theft statistics show that your chances of being affected might be much higher than you think. This is especially true if you’re in a high-risk group, like those affected by data breaches or living in certain states.
By the Numbers
Consider these identity theft statistics:
- In 2019, 14.4 million consumers became victims of identity fraud — that’s about 1 in 15 people
- Overall, 33 percent of U.S. adults have experienced identity theft, which is more than twice the global average
- More than one in four older adults, aged 55 and over, have experienced identity theft
- One in five victims of identity theft have experienced it more than once
- Over 1 million children in the U.S. were victims of identity theft in 2017, costing families $540 million in out-of-pocket expenses
- There’s a new victim of identity theft every 2 seconds
- Children are 51 times more likely to be a victim of identity theft than adults
- Identity theft is the most common consequence of a data breach, occurring 65% of the time
- There were 164 million exposed records in 2019, and data breaches increased by 17%
- Consumers lost more than $56 billion to identity theft and fraud in 2020
- Taxpayers lost over $200 billion to unemployment identity theft and COVID-19 relief fraud since March 2020
- Consumers reported over $370 million lost to coronavirus scams and fraud since January 2020
- Emotional distress is reported by 77.3 percent of identity theft victims
In other words, if your chances of winning the lottery were 1 in 15, as are the odds of being an ID theft victim, we’d all have family, friends, and colleagues who are millionaires.
Changing the Odds
Although we can’t help you secure a future Powerball prize, we can offer some thoughts on changing your odds when it comes to identity theft statistics.
Some good prevention tactics include changing passwords regularly to avoid credential stuffing and other account takeover fraud methods, being cautious when putting personal information on social media, and checking your bank and credit accounts frequently to spot fraudulent transactions. The more proactive monitoring, the better, including monitoring credit reports and credit score changes, so you are aware of any changes or discrepancies that don’t make sense. Staying vigilant if your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) appears on the Dark Web is also critical.
Sontiq’s BreachIQ provides intelligence to understand how a data breach could impact an individual’s identity. Extending beyond basic breach alerts, individuals will see how their unique breach history influences their vulnerability around new security incidents.