A Javelin Strategy report found that smartphone owners and social media users are likely to become victims of identity theft.
and mobile devices may be putting consumers at greater risk for identity fraud,
according to a Feb. 22 report on identity fraud.
More than 11.6
million adults were a victim of identity fraud in the United States in 2011, an
increase of 13 percent since 2010, according to the Javelin Strategy and
Research report. About 7 percent of smartphone users were victims of identity
fraud, in contrast to the 4.9 percent fraud rate among the general population,
according to the 2012 Identify Fraud Report.
owners are not protecting their devices, which exposes them to fraud, according
to Javelin. Around 62 percent said they don't use a password or a pin code to
lock their devices. About 32 percent admitted to saving log-in information on
must be vigilant and in control of their personal data as they adopt new mobile
and social technologies in order to not make it easier for fraudsters to
perpetrate crimes," said James Van Dyke, president of Javelin Strategy and
and mobile behaviors made users more vulnerable to fraud, according to the
report. Users of social networking services, such as LinkedIn, Google+,
Facebook and Twitter, had the highest incidence of fraud. Consumers who
actively engage with social media and use a smartphone were found to have a
disproportionate rate of identity fraud than consumers who do not use in these
were more than twice as likely to have reported being a victim, and users who
regularly checked in to services using GPS-enabled location data reported fraud
rates that were more than double the average rate among the general population.
fraud reports among MySpace users were less than the rate for the general
the numbers are interesting, there is no "proof of direct causation"
at this time, according to the report.
amounts of personal information that are often used to authenticate users
online were freely shared online, Javelin researchers found. Birthdays are one
such example, and 68 percent of the people in Javelin's survey shared the date
online. About 45 percent shared the birth year, as well. Name of the high
school attended and the name of a pet are common security questions for online
services. About 63 percent of the respondents listed the high school on their
public profiles and 12 percent posted pet names.
"prime examples of personal information a company would use to verify your
identity," Javelin said.
found that victims of data breaches were 9.5 times more likely to be a victim
of identity fraud than consumers who had not been affected, compared with 2010.
About 15 percent of Americans, or about 36 million people, received at least
one data breach notification letter in 2011, Javelin said. These users usually
had their credit card or debit card information and Social Security numbers
breaches are increasingly putting consumers at risk," said Van Dyke.
defined identity fraud broadly, including any transaction that used a victim's
name or information without authorization for financial gain.
increase of fraud attempts, the amount of money stolen did not change from the
previous year, according to the report. Consumers, the financial services
industry, law-enforcement authorities and government agencies are stopping
fraud earlier and making it more difficult to open fraudulent accounts, Van
identity-fraud incidence increased last year, it is becoming less profitable
for fraudsters," said Van Dyke.
prevention and detection have resulted in a 44 percent decrease in
out-of-pocket costs for consumers as a result of fraud, the report found. The
average time it took in 2011 to resolve fraud cases also decreased, to 12