One in Five People Hit by Identity Theft in 2020: Report

One in Five People Hit by Identity Theft in 2020: Report

A new report has emerged stating that identity theft has hit one in five people for the year of 2020, as constant scams and hacks impact the secretive personal and financial information an organisation is responsible for keeping safe.

The report comes from GBG, who published its State of Digital Identity: 2020 report, stating that one in five people have been hit by identity theft in the year of 2020, as our reliance on the internet was compounded in a pandemic-filled year. 

To make things worse, GBG anticipates that the number of phishing, hacks and identity fraud campaigns will increase exponentially as we near the festive season, where it expects more than 24 million people will fall victim to one form of identity theft. 

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GBG says that this ever-increasing use of digital services for banking, shopping and conducting work and personal activities resulted in 47% of people opening up a new e-commerce profile, 35% creating their first-ever social media profile, and 31% opening up a new online bank account for the year of 2020. 

Aside from this, authors of the report state that “a third of consumers believe their personal information is currently available for sale online. In October 2019, there were 1.2 billion records available to access online (according to DataViper).” The report’s claim that one in five people have been hit by identity theft in 2020 are connected to this 1.2 billion record figure, which has grown considerably this year. 

Business attitudes toward data being sold online, however, remain complacent, with the authors of the report stating that while a 33% share of the public believe their information is being sold online, a mere 28% of businesses responded that “high” or “extreme” evidence of fraud was not a problem for their organisation. 

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James Coker of Information Security writes that “this could be because of a greater emphasis on delivering a frictionless customer experience ahead of fraud prevention and security, with 54% of businesses finding this is a more difficult balance to strike in the past three years.” 

The report states that this problem is compounded by the fact that “more than two in five consumers (44%) feel unsafe when transacting with “international businesses” online, perhaps the greatest test for businesses will not just be achieving the necessary balance between security and experience, but doing so in a world of increasingly borderless movement and spending.” 

44% of businesses said that protecting the consumer is their main driver for identity fraud investment and a primary driver for investing in something like an information security management system like ISO 27001. 

The report also states that more than one-third of those aged over 75 had opened up a new online account, leaving them particularly vulnerable to the risk of identity theft.

Authors of the GBG report are also predicting that online retailers will face around 20,000 fraudulent transactions over the Christmas season, anticipating that more than 24 million customers will fall victim to fraudulent activity between November and January. 

General Manager of Identity Fraud at GBG’s European division, Gus Tomlinson has said that “the complex set of data points which shape our identity are now vital in keeping the wheels of commerce turning. They create digital trust, allowing people and providers to interact safely without opening the floodgates to fraud.”  

“The research shows that not only is identity fraud already prolific, the ‘trust gap’ it creates poses a risk to industries which will depend on digital trust if they are to thrive in 2021 and beyond.”

“For some businesses and even entire sectors, we are nearing a tipping point: get this balance wrong, and lost trust – and therefore customers – for good,” Tomlinson concluded. 

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