Report Links Increase In ID Theft To Rise In Smartphone Use, Social Media

While smartphones have given millions of Americans something to do on the train instead of staring blankly out the window while wondering where that smell is coming from, they may also be leading to an increase in ID theft.

The folks at Javelin Strategy & Research have released their annual Identity Fraud Report, which found a 13% increase in the number of ID fraud incidents over last year’s study.

Perhaps not surprisingly, smartphone users and people who use social media publicly are putting themselves at the most risk for fraud and theft.

According to the survey, 7% of smartphone owners were victims of identity fraud, significantly higher than the rate for the general public. Javelin believes you chalk up this difference to the fact that many smartphone users aren’t doing much to protect their phone, with 62% of users saying they don’t use a password or code for their home screen and 32% admitting to saving login info on their smartphones.

Meanwhile, many social media users are not heeding the many warnings about making their personal information available to the public. And Javelin says that users who have public profiles on sites like Facebook are even more likely to put information online that could be used to steal one’s identity. 68% of those with public profiles shared their basic birthday (day and month) information, while 45% included the year; 63% shared their high school name; 18% shared their phone number; and 12% shared their pet’s name.

Also of interest in the Javelin report is that while ID fraud incidents increased, the dollar amount did not, and consumers’ out-of-pocket costs from fraud have actually dropped 44% since 2004. This improvement is likely due to better fraud alert and notification systems that have been implemented in recent years.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cat says:

    7% of smartphone owners were victims of identity fraud

    You’re not so smart, are you!

    • Coffee says:

      Is your dumb phone charge on a little shrine in your bedroom that’s surrounded by candles and pictures of smart phones with their eyes poked out?

      • Coffee says:

        I apologize for the obvious grammar error…my smart phone usually fixes those for me.

        • Cat says:

          See, your phone’s not so smart, is it?

          • Coffee says:

            No…it’s really smart…I used it’s voice software to ask it, and it was like, “Smarter than you.” And I’m really smart, so it has to be, like, smarter than really.

            • Coffee says:

              Once again, there is a grammar error that my phone didn’t catch. I’m beginning to think it’s only smart enough to be a pathological liar about how smart it is >:|

  2. mistyfire says:

    As soon as I linked my gmail to my smartphone last year, I discovered at about a few minutes later someone in Russia tried to access it. Likely I was actually looking at the access log at the time. (I wanted to see the IP address of my phone.) I quickly changed the password and check it every day. It hasn’t happened since.

    • Lucky225 says:

      2-factor authentication, one-time app passwords take care of this issue, however I highly doubt it was ‘someone in russia’ who just so happened to own your gmail account at the same time your cellphone signed on, a Russian proxy? Much more likely. Using no SSL auth and checking gmail on an open wifi? Shame on thou.

  3. Lucky225 says:

    Personally volunteering all your info to anyone who asks correlates with increased risk of ID theft for such individuals…hmm I wonder if these are the same folks who comment “Just show the damn ID with your credit card, they only ‘glance’ at it’. :)

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      If a driver’s licence contains enough information for someone to steal your identity, wouldn’t sending someone a birthday card be just as dangerous? I mean, there’s your name, address and birthday for anyone to see. I suppose the ‘never show ID to anyone EVER’ crowd doesn’t send cards, either. Got to be safe!

  4. maxamus2 says:

    Of COURSE I would expect more ID theft because every month there are MORE devices out there!

    Tell me the percentage of increase of theft VS the percentage of increase of devices so I can compare. It’s like saying there is more theft in a certain city who’s population is skyrocketing.

  5. Lyn Torden says:

    Where’s the report link?

  6. sufreak says:

    Lock your phones. I know that advanced hackers and police can still get into the devices. But I know so many people who find that locking a phone is ‘inconvenient.’ You cant have all your life services as apps on the phone and not have a security measure in place. Plus, having your address book there!

    There’s a solution like “Find My iPhone” for everyone out there. Prey works on everything. Just take a little initiative to secure your stuff.

  7. Press1forDialTone says:

    My reaction to the posted headline: DUH!