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2022 FTC Report: Identity Theft Continues to Be a Monumental Problem

Last month the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a report stating “about one fourth of all fraud losses reported to the FTC stem from scams that consumers said originated on social media (please see here) where consumers said they lost about $770 million to fraud initiated on social media in 2021.”

This month, the FTC released its annual identity theft and fraud report known as the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2021 which shows once again that identity theft continues to be a monumental problem, with nearly 1.4 million reports last year.

The just released Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book said that consumers reported losing a record $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021 for a 70 percent year-over-year increase.

The report went on to say that the Top 7 Identity Theft Types included the following:

  1. Government Documents or Benefits Fraud

  2. Credit Card Fraud

  3. Other Identity Theft

  4. Loan or Lease Fraud

  5. Bank Fraud

  6. Employment or Tax-Related Fraud

  7. Phone or Utilities Fraud

In addition, the elderly or senior demographic experienced the highest loss of money ranging on average from $800 (70-79 years old) to $1,500 (80 years of age and older) due to identity theft.

But 2022 is going to get worse as cyber thieves are finding new ways to monetize Phishing(fraudulent emails), Vishing (fraudulent phone calls and voice mail messages) and Smishing (fraudulent text messages).

Consumers need to prepare for the unexpected as cyber thieves and ID theft criminals will be targeting unsuspecting individuals. That said, here is my identity theft and fraud list for consumers to be aware of in 2022:

  • Child ID Theft – as children and families are spending more time than ever on the internet.

  • Social Media Scams – such as LinkedIn where con artists pretend to be a new professional contact.

  • Fake Job Ads – as scammers post fake job ads on networking sites to steal your identity and money.

  • Cryptocurrency Fraud as more money pours into cryptocurrency, scams are increasing every day.

  • Online Data Scams – romance scammers bilked Americans out of $1 billion in 2021, according to the FBI.

  • Taxpayer ID Theft and Refund Fraud – as fraudsters use stolen personally identifiable information (PII) to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.

To conclude, as the pandemic led to a surge in identity theft and fraud in 2021, cyber thieves and ID theft criminals are looking to elevate the cyber threat landscape to the next level in 2022.


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