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  • Writer's pictureRoy Urrico

ITRC: Overall 2023 Identity Crime Decreased but Job Frauds, Multiple Victims Increased

By Roy Urrico


 In 2023, the El Cajon, Calif.–based Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), a nationally recognized nonprofit organization established to support victims of identity crime, found reports of scams to the ITRC decreased by 18% percentage points from the prior year. However, job scams increased by 118%; and while down by 16% compared to 2022, Google Voice dupes remained the top scam reported to the ITRC.


Those are among the findings in the ITRC’s 2023 Trends in Identity Report, the center’s third annual report that looks at the identity crimes committed against individuals as reported by the victims of those crimes. The ITRC's Alliance for Identity Resilience, established by the ITRC as an advisory board, supported this year's report.


The ITRC identified three trends in 2023: 1) Identity thieves are improving looking and sounding "legitimate," thanks in part to generative artificial intelligence, especially when it comes to job postings; 2) Victims are facing more complex types of identity misuse with more severe impacts; and 3) Identity thieves already have enough information to open new lines of credit and other accounts in the names of unsuspecting individuals.


Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the ITRC

“Our 2023 Trends in Identity Report highlights many changes in the identity crime landscape, most notably a sharp rise in job scams,” said Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the ITRC. “The latest information gleaned from speaking with victims, as well as data from our other reports, shows an environment where identity criminals are more effective, efficient and successful in launching attacks. The result is fewer victims reporting these crimes. However, the impact on people and businesses is arguably more damaging at a time when there are too many identity crime victims and too few resources to help them.”

 

ID Theft Claims Many Victims


In the report, the ITRC also outlines how criminals convinced people to willingly share information and use stolen information to open new accounts and evade law enforcement.


Although the number of victims assisted by ITRC Victim Advisors, which operates within the ITRC framework, declined in 2023, it still assisted 10,904 new victims of identity misuse, attempted misuse or identity compromise. The new victims reported 13,197 instances of identity crimes, an 11% drop from 2022.


The ITRC also reported the percentage of new victims who reported multiple instances of identity crimes grew slightly: two incidences (10%), three incidents (3%), four or more incidences (2%).

 

The Trends in Identity Report also includes a lengthy victimization section that breaks down incidents in three major categories:


  • Attempted misuse: when a bad actor attempts to use another individual's personal information.

  • Actual misuse: when a bad actor misuses another individual's personal information.

  • Identity compromise: when a data breach, a system or human error, or a physical attack, expose an individual's personally identifiable information (PII).


There was an 11% increase in reports of attempted misuse from 2022 to 2023, primary increase in reports of attempted misuse was with financial accounts. There was an overall decrease in reports of attempted misuse of government and non-government, non-financial accounts.


The most reported types of misuse were existing account takeovers (ATO) (52%) and new account creation (NAC) (36%), followed by crimes committed using compromised personally identifiable information (PII) (5%) and false employment (5%).


Among victims who contacted the ITRC in 2023, the primary cause of personal information compromise was scams (78%), lost or stolen items (8%) and unauthorized access to a computer or mobile device (6%).


Source: ITRC.

Hearing from the Victims


The victimization section also included several victim statements and advisor notes of the real-life implications of identity theft, including these examples:


Victim statement: “I have recently become a victim of identity theft, I had a fraudulent credit card opened in my name and had charges done on the card for the span of a year without my knowledge, upon discovery of the fraudulent account, I have done most of the necessary steps that would normally be required of me...however the bank has not been very cooperative... I have had my fraud claim denied twice already... I am worried that they may deny the fraud claim for a third time, if this happens, I am not sure what to do. Legal action may end up costing me more than the fraudulent charges in question...”


Advisor notes: “Victim says her credit union account was taken over. She was notified via email that her funds were gone. She was $30,000 overdrawn. They provided her with the names of the banks where the funds were sent. Her (financial institution) is refusing to open an investigation or request the funds back.”

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