Study Highlights Emotional Impact of Identity Theft

People don’t like having their identities stolen.Study Highlights Emotional Impact of Identity Theft

That’s the key takeaway from new research from the University of Texas at Austin Center for Identity. The academic institution’s newly published “2018 Identity Theft Assessment and Prediction Report” highlights the emotional impact of identity theft, fraud, and online abuse, and the findings are perhaps predictable. According to a report summary, the study assessed over 6,000 cases of identity theft and similar crimes from “16 critical infrastructure sectors of the Department of Homeland Security”. It found that “emotional distress is by far the most common type of loss” associated with such incidents, appearing in 75 percent of all cases. The other major type of loss was, of course, financial, which appeared in 54 percent of all cases.

In reporting the findings, the researchers emphasized that “very few cases of identity theft involved the abuse of an individual’s behavioral habits”; in other words, authentication systems based on behavioral biometrics were not implicated in the study. Indeed, together with other forms of biometric authentication such as fingerprint and facial recognition, behavioral biometrics are increasingly seen as a key means of improving online security for personally identifiable information.

It’s a subtle endorsement of such sophisticated authentication mechanisms, and one that lines up with the Center for Identity’s interests. The institution won a contract last year with the Department of Homeland Security to look into how biometric technology can improve daily life for Americans; documenting the emotional distress of identity theft, while gesturing at the relative security of biometrics, would seem to fit the bill.

August 14, 2018 – by Alex Perala