Identity Theft and Fraud Cost Consumers $56 Billion Last Year

March 23, 2021

The pandemic put many things on hold last year, but for thieves and fraudsters, it was business as usual. Identity fraud cost American consumers a total of $56 billion last year, with 49 million consumers getting scammed, according to a study from Javelin Strategy & Research.

According to the research, only $13 billion in losses were due to what Javelin calls “traditional identity fraud,” where cybercriminals access personal data and banking information through hacking or other data breaches.

The majority of identity fraud, $43 billion, comes from direct contact between consumers and fraudsters. This is the type of identity fraud that includes phishing emails and robocalls where the fraudster impersonates customer service or technical support from a company the victim is familiar with.

Javelin also noted that changes to the way we pay brought about by the pandemic, such as contactless methods like Apple Pay and peer-to-peer payments like Venmo, have created more opportunities for fraud. About 18 million victims fell for scams using digital payment methods last year.

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