Report: Identity Theft Remains Elevated in 2021

Report: Identity Theft Remains Elevated in 2021

June 9, 2022

Merchants must remain vigilant against fraud attack vectors leveraging identity theft as record numbers of consumers—especially senior citizens—had their identities stolen in 2021, according to a new report. Boston-based research firm Aite-Novarica’s study, which focused mainly on issues facing banks, said bad actors are using stolen identities for account takeover and application fraud.

For merchants, ATO is a significant problem as well—by one measure, account takeovers surged 148 percent last year. Stolen identities, which can be used along with stolen login credentials, are the fuel ATO needs to thrive.

Another attack vector for stolen identities is through Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) payments. According to the report, fraudulent applications leveraging stolen identities for BNPL access surged in 2021—twenty-three percent of consumers impacted by application fraud schemes were targeted through BNPL payments.

“The findings in the 2021 report send further alarming signals about the evolution of identity theft where one-quarter of the U.S. population has likely been impacted by fraud in just the past year,” said James Mirfin, global head of Digital Identity & Fraud Solutions at Refinitiv, the company that commissioned the Aite-Novarica study. “Financial institutions, businesses and government entities must act now to manage identity risk, with sophisticated tools and data that can stay ahead of fraud’s unrelenting advancements.”

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