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Identity Fraud Reaches Three-Year High

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A new report from Javelin Strategy & Research reveals that identity fraud incidents continue to rise. And many of the incidents can be traced back to corporate data breaches.

PCMag's Angela Moscaritolo reported, "Nearly 13 million U.S. adults were victims of identity fraud in 2012, an increase of more than one million victims over the past year, according to a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research. Identity fraudsters stole more than $21 billion from 12.6 million victims in 2012, the highest amount since 2009, the research firm said in its 2013 Identity Fraud Report, released Wednesday. This equated to one incident of identify fraud every three seconds."

Pamela Yip with The Dallas Morning News added, "The report also found that nearly 1 in 4 data-breach letter recipients became a victim of identity fraud, with breaches involving Social Security numbers to be the most damaging."

PCWorld's Jeremy Kirk observed, "One of the largest spikes came in new account fraud, where criminals collect personal data and then open, for example, a new credit card account. New account fraud climbed to 1.22 percent of adults last year, from 0.82 percent in 2011.... Data breaches were a likely source for Social Security numbers, issued to all U.S. citizens, and a key piece of information often required for opening new accounts. Consumers who knew their SSN had been breached were 14 times more likely to be a victim of new account fraud, Javelin said."

ZDNet's Rachel King noted, "The bright side (if there is one) is that researchers said businesses now respond faster to fraud claims, meaning that a consumer’s information is at risk for a shorter period of time, reducing the mean cost per victim."

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