Credit unions are responsible for securing sensitive data and information for millions of people daily. Hackers, however, have doubled down on their skillset and targets, making the financial industry their top priority. How daunting is it to know that without proper security, the sensitive data of millions are subject to becoming victims of identity theft? Below are eight facts you should be aware of regarding this growing reality:
- In 2020, California had the greatest number of identity theft reports at 147,382, followed closely behind by Illinois at 135,038 and Florida at 101,367: These states are some of the most populated in the country, making the likelihood of identity theft even more significant.
- According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), around nine million US citizens have their identities stolen every year: There are many factors that could’ve impacted this, from weak passwords to data breaches, unsecured data is the primary reason for stolen identities.
- According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), 1.1 million Americans had their identities used in 2014 to fraudulently open bank, credit card, or utility accounts: As financial institutions make up 35% of all data breaches and the industry is deemed the “most-breached sector,” this is significant because it emphasizes the need for airtight security platforms within the industry to combat fraudulent activity.
- The main types of identity theft include government benefits applied for/received, credit card fraud, new accounts, and much more: An estimated 59 million Americans receive government welfare, and another 200 million US citizens have credit cards. Due to the prevalence of these two sources and the digitalization of government departments & credit card companies, an environment of possible digital fraud and theft is created.
- Just about 50% of identity theft victims were below the age of 50: People aged 18-49 are some of the most socially active, making it likelier that this group may experience identity theft.
- About 1% of people, aged at least 16, were identity theft victims by criminals, using their personal information to open a bank account or take control of an existing account or credit card: Given this is one of the first times in someone’s life they will get some sort of identification and acquire financial devices such as a credit card, this creates a digital paper trail that is rife for identity theft.
- Identity theft victims are 43% likelier to live in an affluent suburb: According to data from the US Department of Housing & Urban Development and the US Census, 52 percent of US citizens live in the suburbs. This makes suburbs one of the most likely places identity theft will occur in the country.
- Federal authorities only apprehend 0.14% of identity theft criminals: Interesting enough, around 45% of violent crime and 16% of property crime suspects were arrested. It may not be much of a stretch to conclude identity thieves are likelier to get away with such crimes than others.
Amid these facts, you can get a picture of what identity theft victims have to offer cybercriminals. Victims are between the ages of 16-49, live in the suburbs, have bank accounts, credit cards, utility accounts, or government benefits. As we can see, so many Americans become trapped in identity theft, meaning it’s a critical issue that has yet to be resolved. If you don’t know the signs or your credit union has not implemented the proper security measures, you and your customers could likely become the next victims.