“We need to fundamentally change the way we support identity crime victims to ensure no one feels ignored or dismissed the way they do today.” – Eva Velasquez, President & CEO, ITRC
A new report from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) illustrates the increasingly disturbing human cost of identity crime, particularly with a finding that 16 percent of the victims who spoke with the ITRC said they had thoughts of suicide after an attack. That’s up from 10 percent the previous year.
A nonprofit with a mandate to support the victims of identity crime, the ITRC compiled its 2023 Consumer Impact Report with backing from Experian. It’s based on information collected through surveys of identity crime victims who came to the ITRC for help, as well as general consumers who suffered identity crime and did not approach the ITRC.
Remarkably, its findings showed that 41 percent of those who contacted the ITRC and 69 percent of the general consumers polled had been victims of identity crime more than once. And for some, such incidents carry a high emotional cost.
“The fact that 16 percent of identity crime victims thought it’s easier to end their life than try to recover from an identity crime says as much about the lack of concern and support for identity crime victims as it does the victims themselves,” said ITRC President and CEO Eva Velasquez. “We need to fundamentally change the way we support identity crime victims to ensure no one feels ignored or dismissed the way they do today.”
Beyond the intensifying emotional costs of identity crime, the financial costs appear to be deepening, too, with 26 percent of ITRC victims reporting losses greater than $100,000. Such losses seem to be particularly prevalent in romance and social media scams, and often involve the use of cryptocurrencies.
Another disturbing finding from a security standpoint: More than half of identity crime victims said they were using multi-factor authentication to protect their personal information. This suggests that even MFA security is doing too little to stop identity fraud, though poor password hygiene is an important factor as well. The ITRC found that 56 percent of ITRC victims and 59 percent of general consumers used the same password for multiple accounts.
All told, the findings suggest a greater need than ever to implement robust identity verification and authentication mechanisms in online transactions — especially those in which sensitive personal information, and even money, might be exchanged. They likewise suggest that the major dating platforms that have been embracing selfie-based IDV solutions were right to do so as fraudsters turn even to remote dating channels to swindle others.
September 6, 2023 – by Alex Perala