While 2022 didn’t pass 2021 in terms of the number of identity thefts reported, it came very close to being a record year. Cybersecurity experts have shared several identity theft trends to watch in 2023 as cybercriminals become more savvy.
The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) released its predictions for identity theft for 2023, with a noted shift in tactics as cybercriminals target specific demographics differently, particularly different age groups.
Identity theft impacts people of all ages, however, and consumers should be aware of tactics used to steal their private data. Identify theft shows no signs of slowing in 2023 and the reported number of breaches for 2022 nearly surpassed the all-time high set in 2021..
According to the ITRC’s 2022 Annual Data Breach Report, the number of data compromises in 2022 (1,802) was just 60 short of the record set in 2021 (1,862 compromises). 2022 started off slow in terms of data breaches, due in part to Russia-based cybercriminals distracted by the war in Ukraine and volatile cryptocurrency markets. However, the number of data compromises increased steadily during the last six months of 2022.
The ITRC has released identity theft trends to be aware of in 2023.
8 Identity Theft Trends in 2023
Protecting Digital Information Is a Must: In an increasingly digital world, identity scammers can more easily impersonate you and steal your personally identifiable information (PII). Be on the lookout for social engineering and phishing scams and attempts to compromise your non-financial social media accounts.
From Romance to Relationship Scams: Romance scams are a tactic wherein a cybercriminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s trust. While these are not going away, there will be a shift away from such scams as bad actors looking to exploit and steal will attempt more platonic relationship-type scams in 2023.
Ethnic Groups Will Be Targeted: The ITRC predicted a rise in scams involving ethnic groups or immigrants who can be more vulnerable to cybercriminals due to cultural and language barriers.
Multifactor Authentication on All Devices is Crucial: People who enable multifactor authentication on all of their accounts will be better protected than those who don’t.
Different Age Groups Will be Targeted Differently: The ways different generations use technology, payment applications and contact processes will be matched by the ways scammers target individuals.
Payment Apps Will Provoke Legislation: The increasing popularity of mobile payment apps such as Venmo will make it easier for thieves to trick people into sending them money or giving out their personal information — and harder for victims to get their money back. The ITRC predicted Congress or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will get on board this year to regulate abuse of these apps.
Congress Will Remain Inactive on Broad Protection Laws: The U.S. currently works with a patchwork system of sector-specific laws that fall short of protecting data. Despite this, the ITRC states, “Despite continued evidence that data breaches are giving scammers the information they need to craft more effective phishing pitches and account takeover fraud, Congress will fail to pass a comprehensive privacy and data security law in 2023.”
Practicing common-sense when it comes to online activity, along with being skeptical of suspicious emails, texts or phone calls, resisting giving out any personal information, refusing to pay an unknown or suspicious contact when requested, and enabling password protection tactics on all devices won’t deter thieves from stealing personal data, but it will make it more difficult for them to succeed.
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