Study Reveals Offline Methods Are Top Causes for Identity Fraud Claims

November 27, 2012

Despite increased adoption of online shopping, mobile payment and banking apps, offline methods are the top known causes of identity fraud, according to a new study from Travelers. Burglary, stolen wallets and pilfered identifications account for 73 percent of all cases, according to a comprehensive study of 2011 Travelers claim data.

Stolen or misplaced items, such as wallets and pocketbooks, accounted for the most common known causes for identity fraud. In the number two spot was a stolen or compromised license, Social Security card or other form of personal identification, according to the company’s 2011 claim data. Burglaries rated third, followed by cyber breaches (including Internet scams) and old-fashioned forgeries.

Since identity thieves acquire valuable personal information in less obvious ways—from sorting through trash for bank statements to stealing pre-approved credit card applications in the mail—only 10 percent of survey respondents could identify whom the perpetrator was who committed identity fraud against them.

“When everyday essentials, like wallets or drivers licenses, are stolen or go missing, identity fraud often follows,” said Joe Reynolds, identity fraud product manager at Travelers. “Credit cards, drivers licenses and other sources of personal information enable criminals to commit a fraud or crime, all in your name.”

Travelers found the following as the top known causes of identity fraud:

  • 73 percent – burglary and theft of wallet/purse/personal identification/computer;
  • 15 percent – online or data breach;
  • 10 percent – forgery;
  • 2 percent – change of address/postal fraud

“People are not always aware that someone is illegally using their identity until suspicious activity appears on their monthly financial statement,” said Reynolds. “It is critical that consumers closely review these monthly documents, and remember to immediately call the bank if they suspect fraudulent activity.”

Travelers’ Identity Fraud Expense Coverage is available as an endorsement on a homeowners policy for $25 annually and offers protection up to $25,000 per insured person with no deductible and includes comprehensive Identity Fraud Resolution Services. Travelers also offers Identity Fraud Expense Reimbursement Coverage to financial institutions and commercial entities as an employee, customer or membership benefit.

Source: Travelers

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