Identity theft is costing consumers and organizations hundreds of billions of dollars a year and more than 20% of all identity theft cases involve telecommunications and the Internet, a percentage that is growing rapidly. In fact, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission online fraud and identity theft is the fastest growing crime. This trend is particularly worrisome for people accessing e-commerce and financial websites.
In the U.S. alone, approximately 16.6 million people experienced at least one identity theft incident in 2012 (the most recent data available) and financial losses totaled $24.7 billion.
Rapid growth in online transactions
A 2013 report by Pew Research Center reveals that 51 percent of U.S. adults and 61 percent of Internet users now bank online and mobile banking use is showing the fastest growth.
According to a 2014 Canadian Bankers Association report, 77 percent of Canadians reported using online banking in the last year. In Canada too, use of mobile banking is growing rapidly with 31 percent of Canadians reporting using mobile banking during the last year, up from five percent in 2010, a six-fold increase.
Growing security concerns
Yet, despite these growth numbers, the studies point out that Internet users have strong and legitimate concerns about unauthorized access to their personal and financial information that criminals can use to steal their identities, compromise personal data and inflict serious damage to their finances and credit.
Studies by McAfee Avert Labs and others on global identity theft trends uncovered a dramatic increase in online and computer-based identity theft through the use of key loggers. According to reports, the use of key loggers — malicious software code that tracks typing activity on an infected computer to capture user IDs, passwords and other confidential information — has shown dramatic and sustained growth.