Another Epidemic to Worry About: Identity Theft
Identity thieves are increasingly using stolen information to hijack their victims’ accounts, a costly type of fraud that’s expected to increase as the COVID-19 pandemic forces more Americans to work and shop online.
The number of victims of account takeovers, in which a criminal takes control of an existing online account, rose more than 20% last year, according to a report by Javelin Strategy & Research, a financial advisory firm. While the number of victims of ID theft declined in 2019, total losses rose because account-takeover fraud is more profitable for perpetrators. Javelin also predicts an increase in phishing attacks and “card not present” fraud, in which stolen credit card data is used to make purchases online, by phone or through the mail.