- Liz Lindsay
Identity Theft reports more than doubled in just one year
Two of the most common financial crimes, identity theft and credit card fraud skyrocketed in 2020. Part of the growth was due to the pandemic. There were 323,920 reports of COVID-19 fraud last year. That number doesn't seem to be slowing down, as the pandemic also caused specific types of fraud to become more common. Government benefits fraud, in particular, grew as criminals stole stimulus checks and unemployment benefits. Healthcare fraud has also increased dramatically during the pandemic as cybercriminals lure victims with medical treatment and cures. Reports for this type of fraud exploded over the second half of 2020.
According to one report by the Aite Group, identity theft cases resulted in losses of $712.4 billion in 2020. That was a 42% increase from 2019, when identity theft caused $502.5 billion in losses. The number of identity theft reports more than doubled, increasing by 113% from 2019 to 2020. Credit cards are the most common payment method for COVID-19 fraud victims who lose money, but bank transfers and money wires resulted in the most losses, because consumers lost more on average with those two methods.
FTC statistics mentioned here cover COVID and stimulus fraud starting on January 1, 2020 Key Findings:
California has the most COVID-19 fraud losses with over $65 million.
As of July 14, 2021, Americans have reported over 500,000 cases of COVID-19 fraud and losses of over $480 million.
Consumers in Vermont have the lowest total COVID-19 fraud losses ($381,000) but the highest median fraud loss ($577).
COVID-19 identity theft has been more prevalent in certain states, including Kansas, Hawaii, Montana, and Arkansas.
Rhode Island has a much higher than average rate of COVID-19 fraud (96 reports per 10,000 people) than other states.
Although consumers ages 30–39 reported the most cases of fraud, those 60–69 lost the most money. Reference: 1. fool
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