30+ Terrifying Identity Theft Statistics: Facts, Trends, & Odds

Written by Elijah BishopUpdated: 28th Mar 2022
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It seems like just yesterday that the word “theft” conjured up images of home invasions or street muggings. While not quite harmless, these were at least visible evils. With identity theft being the new big thing, similar cybercrime risks remain generally hidden.

According to the most recent identity theft statistics, breaches can now come from any direction, and stopping them isn’t as simple as adding CCTV. As we exchange more data online, we are all becoming more vulnerable to third-party attacks.

While the following identity theft statistics may make you nervous, they are important to examine. After all, understanding the numbers behind crimes like these is one of our best chances of remaining safe!

So, if you want to secure your data and yourself, you’ll have to join us in the dark underworld of identity theft and beyond.

  • Up to 65% of the time, a data breach ends in identity theft.
  • Over 33 billion records will be stolen in 2023.
  • There were 14.4 million victims of identity fraud in 2019, according to identity theft statistics for 2019.
  • Over $1.9 billion were lost to identity theft and fraud in 2019.
  • Credit card theft statistics show creating a new account is the most common form of ID theft.
  • Statistics of identity theft show up to 77.3% of victims report mental health issues long after the incident. 
  • Over one million children were identity theft victims in 2017.

Identity Theft Statistics: New Findings & Data Revealed

#1. Almost half of the consumers in the US experienced identity theft in the past two years.

According to a recent study, 47 percent of US consumers surveyed were victims of identity theft or were on the verge of being victims. 37 percent of those reported application fraud, such as someone attempting to open an account using their identity, and 38 percent reported an attempted or successful account takeover.

#2. There’s a new identity theft victim every two seconds

It is an understatement to say that cybercrime is on the rise. The fact that a new victim of identity fraud is reported every two seconds attests to this. In 2020, there were about 1.4 million reports of identity theft in the United States alone. What’s more surprising is that it’s more than double the number of reports from 2019.

#3. Kids are more likely to be identity theft victims than adults

Children and teenagers frequently lack financial experience and are unwary of the websites they visit and the information they disclose online. When compared to an adult, they are 51 times more likely to be victims of identity theft.

#4. The US identity theft insurance market is worth $262.9 million.

The theft insurance market has grown at a slow pace, averaging only 1.4 percent each year since 2016. However, given to the heightened identity theft risks we are all experiencing, it is predicted to expand by 5.6 percent in 2022. Although we do not know how to avoid identity theft, we can protect ourselves.

#5. Over 1 in 10 identity theft victims don’t want police reports

According to FTC data from 2016, 11% of persons who reported identity theft to law authorities did not want a police report taken. While we haven’t seen updated statistics in recent years, it appears likely that folks who are victims of identity theft and scams are typically ashamed and may still be trying to hide the fact that they have been attacked in 2022.

#6. Poor shopping habits leave Americans exposed to ID theft

Experian found 43% of identity theft victims in the U.S. admitted the incident happened after shopping online during the holidays. Increased shopping from home during the pandemic also led to an increase in online fraud and scam incidents in 2020 and 2021.

#7. 50% of US adults think cybercriminals won’t target individuals with poor credit 

According to an Experian online study, 50 percent of US adults believed that identity thieves ould not target people with bad credit. This, however, is not the case. The number of identity theft cases has been constantly increasing, which implies that even persons with bad credit are vulnerable.

#8. Your Walmart account with a credit card attached is worth $14 on the Dark Web.

The price of personal information on the Dark Web varies according to demand, and the price for Walmart accounts has climbed by $4 since 2020. The coronavirus caused numerous changes in how we live and shop. Your Walmart account has become a valuable commodity as more and more transactions are performed online.

#9. Victims spend an average of $1,000 and 330 hours on remedying an identity theft.

A quarter of victims spend upwards of six months battling the credit unions, while 23% are still doing so after a full year.

#10. More than one in four older adults are victims of identity theft

An older adult refers to individuals aged 55 and above, and more than one in four in this category have been a victim of identity theft. One reason for this could be that older adults are often not tech-savvy, and are unable to distinguish an authentic website from a fraudulent one.

#11. Credit card fraud is the most common kind of identity theft.

The FTC has found that credit card theft was the most common type of identity fraud in 2020 and 2021. The FTC has received nearly 18,000 reports from various individuals who have stated that their information has been used to gain access to their credit card accounts illegally.

#12. Californians are the main target for identity theft

According to current statistics, Californians are the leading target for identity theft, with 147,382 complaints made from this state alone. As a result, the state is one of the most popular targets for cybercrime. Looking at the figures for the top US states for identity theft, Illinois comes in second with 135,038 cases and Texas comes in third with 134,788 cases.

#13. 45% of victims feel a lack of trust in family members

Handling identity theft swiftly is crucial, but it’s also essential to handle the emotional turmoil this event can cause. The Identity Theft Resource Center published a study in 2018 that suggested that over 45% of identity theft victims felt a lack of trust in their family members after experiencing identity theft.

#14. In 2020 there were 408 cyber-incidents in the US K-12 public school system.

These incidents include data breaches; malware and DDoS attacks; social engineering and phishing scams, and a wide variety of other cyberattacks. Across seven affected districts, the sensitive data of at least 560,000 students and 56,000 staff was exposed. There is no doubt that the 2022 data breaches will make the child identity theft statistics look even grimmer.

#15. 33% of adults admit to sharing their login credentials with others.

Who hasn’t shared work or online app login information? As benign as this may appear to be, it has the potential to cause far significant problems. The credentials may fall into the hands of the wrong people. Being so reckless with personal data contributes significantly to the rising occurrence of identity theft. Most individuals are aware that reusing passwords is harmful.

#16. Around 15% of data breaches in 2020 happened in healthcare.

In 2020, there were 1108 confirmed data breaches, with the healthcare sector accounting for 162 of them. As a result of the epidemic, more people sought medical attention and provided personal and sensitive information that could be compromised.

#17. The average time it takes for a fraudulent new account to be discovered is 54.2 days.

A lot of funds can be embezzled – sometimes along with irreparable loss of face to the victim – in two months. Keep tabs on your bank accounts; you don’t want to wake up one morning, check your balance, scream “Someone stole my identity!” then realize you’re three months late.

#18. 46% of identity theft victims say they’re dissatisfied with the way financial institutions and credit unions handle their cases.

Victims need to go through a litany of interrogations, questionnaires, forms, and other types of bureaucratic torture to recover their identity. This accounts for a huge part of the trauma involved in identity theft. Imagine having to retell the same humiliating and traumatic story to a never-ending line of disinterested interrogators, knowing that your identity thief will probably go unpunished.

#19. Females account for a slightly larger percentage (52%) of identity theft victims than males.

According to identity theft statistics, this difference is due to the fact that women are slightly more likely to misuse their bank accounts, while credit card fraud is mostly the same across genders.

#20. White people have the biggest risk of becoming identity fraud victims.

According to an identity theft report by the Bureau of Justice comprising data from 2016, 19.4 million victims were white, while roughly 6.5 million people were of other races. That means 12% of all white people were victims, while around 8% of people of other races were affected.

#21. Millennials account for around 35% of fraud cases in the US.

In 2020, the FTC received 2.2 million reports of fraud. People between the ages of 20 and 40 make up 35% of those who report. People beyond the age of 70, on the other hand, accounted for only 8% of all reports. Despite the fact that the totals for Millennials were larger, the average financial losses incurred by the elder population were substantially higher than those faced by the younger generations.

#22. Account takeovers saw a huge increase between 2019 and 2020

Account takeovers have been on the rise for some time, but they increased by 70% in 2019, bringing account takeover losses to a whopping $6.8 billion USD, up from $5.1 billion the previous year. Account takeovers continued to climb in 2020, according to Javelin, which discovered that account takeovers led to ID theft, which resulted in losses of $56 billion USD.

#23. Social media users are a high-risk group for identity theft

Those who utilize social media are more likely to be victims of fraud. Individuals with an active social media presence had a 30% higher risk of becoming a fraud victim than those who were not engaged, according to Javelin Strategy. Users of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat were especially vulnerable.

#24. The global average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million

According to an IBM Security 2020 research, the typical data breach costs $3.86 million globally. Furthermore, having a remote workforce increased the average cost of a data breach by $137,000.

#25. 40% of US businesses will make investing in fraud detection their top priority.

However, this is less than in Europe or South America. For example, 52 percent of German organizations and 66 percent of Brazilian companies intend to emphasize fraud detection. To say the least, the US figures are perplexing, given that 44 percent of US customers are concerned about their online privacy and safety, compared to only 23 percent in Europe.

#26. In 94% of identity theft cases, the victim knows nothing about the attacker.

In cases of multiple offenses, when a new account is opened along with the misuse of an old one, the victim knows something about the attacker 12% of the time.

#27. Most stolen identities were used to apply for government documents and benefits in 2020.

Credit card theft is the second most common use of stolen ID. After that, there’s bank fraud and utility fraud. Millions of people who have been touched by these crimes have often suffered significant financial, psychological, and reputational harm.

#28. 75% of consumers do not use a VPN to protect their Wi-Fi connection.

Despite the obvious and immediate benefits, many consumers are ignorant of how a VPN may safeguard them. All data transmitted to and from your computer will be protected by a strong VPN. This could even reduce the need for identity theft software and other ancillary items.

#29. Based on the FBI identity theft data, in 2020, the most common type of cybercrime was phishing.

Phishing cases (sending email posing as a genuine institution in order to deceive people into providing personal information) have nearly doubled since 2019, totaling 241,324 since 2019. (114,702 in 2019). Furthermore, in 2020, 74% of firms in the United States will have been successfully phished. This is 14% more than in 2019 and 30% more than the global average.

#30. Curious facts about identity theft report 2.5 million deceased identities are stolen each year.

Naturally, deceased individuals make for the best cover since they can’t be alerted of any infractions or criminal activities happening with their IDs.  

#31. A significant number of identity theft cases involve people you know.

Javelin Strategy and Research published a report on identity theft stating that some 550,000 identity theft victims had their ID stolen by someone they knew.

#32. IRS identity theft statistics show that between 2015-2019 the number of identity theft victims among taxpayers decreased by 80%.

By ceasing the verified identity theft returns, the IRS managed to protect $26 billion in fraudulent refunds. Apart from that, financial industry partners restored another $1.7 billion in fraudulent refunds.

How Many Identities Are Stolen Each Year?

The FTC estimates that 9 million identities are stolen each year. Since many people do not report identity theft, no true number of victims exists

What Are the Odds of Being a Victim of Identity Theft?

Around 1 in 15 people become victims of identity fraud. Americans are most likely to have their identities stolen.

Who Is Most at Risk for Identity Theft?

In 2020, the most targeted age group for identity theft were 30- to 39-year-olds, among whom 306,090 cases were reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States. The second most targeted age group were those aged 40 to 49, with 302,678 cases of identity theft reported.

What Is the Most Common Source of Identity Theft?

Credit card fraud is the most common form of identity theft. However, there are several types of identity theft like Employment or tax-related fraud, loan and lease fraud, and government benefit fraud.

How Often Does Identity Theft Occur?

Identity theft affects about 1 in 20 American each year. According to Javelin’s 2020 Identity Fraud Survey, 13 million consumers in the U.S. were affected by identity fraud in 2019 with total fraud losses of nearly $17 billion.

Bottom Line: Identity Theft Statistics

Identity theft is and will continue to be a significant danger to online security. However, as identity theft attacks become more complex, so do security measures. Identity theft protection is the greatest way to protect yourself, but being cautious about what you disclose online, creating strong passwords, and using a VPN can also help.

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Elijah Bishop
Elijah Bishop

Elijah A. Bishop is a Senior Personal Finance Writer who has been writing about real estate and mortgages for years. He has a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Creative writing from Georgia State University and has also attended the Climer School of Real Estate. He also holds a realtor license and has been in and out of the US mortgage industry as a loan officer. Bringing over 15 years of experience, Elijah produces content that analyzes ethnicities, race, and financial well-being. His areas of expertise are mortgages, real estate, and personal loans.