Identity fraudsters stole $16 billion from 12.7 million Americans last year, with a new victim every two seconds, according to Javelin Strategy & Research.
The figures, drawn from a survey of 5000 people, are down on 2013, when $18 billion was stolen from 13.1 million victims, with new account fraud numbers particularly encouraging, hitting a record low.
The high profile data breach cases that hit in 2014 have had a big impact. Around two-thirds of identity fraud victims had previously received a data breach notification in the same year.
The attacks on Target, Home Depot and others affected shopping behaviour, with 28% of victims saying they avoided merchants post-fraud. People whose credit or debit cards were breached in the past year were nearly three times more likely to be an identity fraud victim.
The research also shows that students are the least concerned about fraud occurring, yet, this same group is more likely to perceive significant effects due to the occurrence of fraud and are the least likely to detect identity fraud themselves. In fact, 22% of students were notified that they were a victim of identity fraud either by a debt collector or when they were denied credit, three times higher than average victims.
Al Pascual, director, fraud and security, Javelin, says: "Despite the headlines, the occurrence of identity fraud hasn’t changed much over the past year, and it is still a significant problem. Consumers, financial institutions and retailers are all taking aggressive steps, yet we must remain vigilant."