U.S. Identity Theft: The Stark Reality

A new Aite Group report finds that losses due to identity theft increased by 42% from 2019 to 2020, primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Boston, March 9, 2021 — Identity theft is a growing problem in the U.S. In 2019, losses from identity theft cases were US$502.5 billion and rapidly increased to US$712.4 billion in 2020, a 42% increase year-over-year. Identity theft losses grew very rapidly in 2020 (and will continue in 2021) due to the very high rate of unemployment identity theft during the pandemic. Unemployment benefits were increased, and the length of time to draw unemployment was extended, making this a very attractive target for fraudsters. Aite Group projects that losses from all identity theft will grow to US$635.4 by 2023. The latest Aite Group report, U.S. Identity Theft: The Stark Reality, examines how victims are impacted in the real world, sizes the problem of identity theft in the U.S., and differentiates it from a simple fraudulent credit card transaction.


“Family and friendly fraud has been growing in recent years and will continue to increase unless consumers are better educated about being careful to secure their information, even within their own homes,” states Shirley Inscoe, senior analyst at Aite Group. “In most types of application fraud, half or more of the fraud is perpetrated by those known to the victim,” she explains.


This report explores the ramifications to financial institutions when identity theft occurs and examines how consumer banking behaviors changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. GIACT, an industry leader in payments and identity fraud prevention, commissioned Aite Group to conduct an online quantitative survey in December of 2020, and 8,653 U.S. consumers aged 18 or older were surveyed. Of those, 4,101 (47%) experienced financial identity theft. This survey forms the basis of this report. ​​​​​​


To request a press copy of this report or to speak with Shirley Inscoe about this topic, please contact us at pr@aitegroup.com.


About Aite Group: Aite Group is a global research and advisory firm delivering comprehensive, actionable advice on business, technology, and regulatory issues and their impact on the financial services industry. With expertise in banking, payments, insurance, wealth management, and the capital markets, we guide financial institutions, technology providers, and consulting firms worldwide. We partner with our clients, revealing their blind spots and delivering insights to make their businesses smarter and stronger. Visit us on the web and connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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