Identity theft is on the rise, according to a report released today by Javelin Strategy & Research.
The crime struck almost 12 million victims in 2011, a whopping 13 percent increase from 2010. The main reasons why: the growing number of data breaches and increasing reliance on smartphones and social media.
“It’s no surprise that identity theft continues to be a time-consuming and expensive problem, but it’s just one fraction of the overall identity picture,” said Adam Levin, owner of and . “A consumer’s identity portfolio is comprised of many different pieces and financial identity theft is just one portion. Medical, criminal and child identity theft, just to name a few, are some other factors consumers need to consider when monitoring their records for fraud.”
High-profile data attacks on companies likely contributed to the rise in identity theft crimes in 2011. The number of people who were notified that their information was lost in a data breach in 2011 increased by 67 percent from the previous year.
Smartphone users are about a third more likely to become victims than non-users, according to Javelin. Nearly 7 percent of smartphone users experienced identity fraud in 2011. And 62 percent of smartphone users do not use password protection for their home screens, which means anyone who finds or takes their phones will have access to the information inside.
Other report highlights:
If you suspect your identity has been stolen, call your insurer or bank, which might provide from Identity Theft 911. Or directly.
One of our fraud specialists will guide you and provide practical support until your credit record is restored. The specialist also will help you pursue criminal and civil legal action against the identity thief.