Identity Theft Facts and Statistics
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there were 1,108,609 reports of identity theft in 2022, down from 1,434,693 reports in 2021. Credit card fraud was the most common type of identity theft, followed by bank fraud and loan or lease fraud.
Adults in their 30s reported more identity theft than any other age group at 286,890 incidents. Identity theft also varied by state — although Georgia had the highest rate of identity theft, California reported the most cases (125,597). MoneyGeek analyzed these and other identity theft trends to highlight specific vulnerabilities in the current digital landscape.
- There were 1,108,609 reports of identity theft in 2022, showcasing a decrease from the previous year's 1,434,693 reports.
- Credit card fraud was the predominant identity theft type in 2022 with 449,574 reports, followed by bank fraud and loan or lease fraud.
- Adults in their 30s reported the highest rates of identity theft in 2022.
- Georgia recorded the highest identity theft rate, whereas California reported the most cases in 2022.
- South Dakota had the lowest rate of identity theft, with Wyoming registering the least number of reports in the same year.
Identity Theft Trends Over Time
Over the last decade, identity theft reports to the FTC's Consumer Sentinel Network showcased notable fluctuations. Between 2012 and 2013, there was a decline from 369,958 to 290,098. After slightly fluctuating in the next six years, 2019 marked a significant surge to 650,523 and then more than doubled to 1,388,539 in 2020. The following year saw a slight increase, reaching 1,434,693 before falling to 1,108,609 in 2022.
One may attribute the surge between 2019 and 2021 to the rise in online activities and transactions during the global pandemic, exposing more individuals to identity fraud via cyber attack. The decrease in 2022 suggests possible improvements in security measures, increased consumer awareness or effective countermeasures by authorities and financial institutions.
The FTC's Consumer Sentinel Network Data reveals shifts among fraud, identity theft and other consumer complaints. Fraud consistently dominated, escalating from 1,122,693 reports in 2012 to 2,923,241 in 2021 before slightly receding to 2,369,527 in 2022 — a decrease of approximately 19%.
Similarly, Identity theft reports saw a dramatic rise from 2019, peaking in 2021 and dropping by roughly 23% in 2022. The "Other" category — encompassing a range of complaints involving credit reports, lenders, auto, debt collection, home repair disputes, data security breaches and computer equipment/software malfunctions — was recorded with 1,694,993 cases in 2022.
Types of Identity Theft
Identity theft can take many forms. From traditional methods like credit card fraud to newer, more innovative channels, the data paints a vivid picture of the threats consumers face.
- Credit Card Fraud (449,574 reports): This leading figure suggests heightened targeting in card-based transactions, likely from how commonplace online shopping and digital payments have become.
- Bank Fraud (165,137 reports): Includes phishing attacks targeting bank customers.
- Loan or Lease Fraud (179,622 reports): Vulnerabilities in the lending sector, possibly due to unsecured loan applications or deceptive lending platforms.
- Employment or Tax Fraud (104,978 reports): This includes risks associated with personal tax data and employment records.
- Phone or Utilities Fraud (86,053 reports): Potential scam calls or deceptive utility sign-ups.
- Government Documents or Benefits Fraud (60,940 reports): This is exploitation of government services, such as fraudulent claims or document forgeries.
- Other Identity Theft (344,976 reports): Encompasses a variety of categories as defined by the FTC. These include fraudulent activities in email or social media, attempts at evading the law, deceptive insurance claims, fraud involving health services, online shopping scams and irregularities in securities accounts.
Identity Theft Trends by Age
As individuals navigate different life stages, their exposure to digital risks fluctuates. FTC data from 2022 reveals significant trends in identity theft occurrences for each age bracket among Americans.
- Ages 0–19: The lowest by age bracket at 23,953 reports, children are targets of identity theft due to their clean credit history and because fraudulent activity can remain unnoticed for years.
- Ages 20–29: A considerable 180,146 reports indicate this group's frequent online interactions and potentially less stringent digital security practices, such as sharing passwords.
- Ages 30–39: This age group reported the most incidents at 286,890. This demographic's active digital presence and online financial transactions increased their risk for identity theft.
- Ages 40–49: Reporting 212,729 incidents, this group is similarly exposed to increased risk due to active online financial transactions and high consumer spending.
- Ages 50–59: With 139,835 reports, a decline shows as we move to older age groups. High consumer spending plus a tendency to share personal information on social media heightens this group’s risk of identity theft.
- Ages 60–69: A further drop to 77,784 reports. Cybercriminals may target this group for their retirement accounts, which often have fewer fraud protections than traditional banks.
- Ages 70+: This age group is the second-lowest at 39,577 reports. However, the FTC reports a higher median loss for victims in this bracket. Seniors in this bracket are frequent targets for phishing scams, romance scams and other forms of impersonation.
Identity Theft Type by Age
Credit card fraud is the predominant form of identity theft affecting individuals aged 20 and above, with the highest incidence observed in the 30-39 age bracket, totaling 121,654 reports. While all age groups from 20 years onward are significantly impacted by credit card fraud, the 0-19 age group stands out, primarily targeted for Employment or Tax-Related Fraud, accounting for 16,900 reports.
Credit Card Fraud
Employment or Tax Fraud
Government Documents or Benefits Fraud
Loan or Lease Fraud
Other Identity Theft
Phone or Utilities Fraud
Identity Theft Facts by State
Identity theft remains a pressing concern across the United States, but its prevalence varies significantly from state to state. Here are the states most and least affected by identity theft.
States With the Highest Rates of Identity Theft
With 574 reports per 100,000 people and 60,348 reports, Georgia leads the nation in identity theft rate. According to the FTC, the most common identity theft types in Georgia are Other Identity Theft (43%), credit card fraud (42%), Loan or Lease Fraud (20%), Phone and Utilities Fraud (7%) and Bank Fraud (5%).
Louisiana ranks 2nd with 534 reports per 100,000 people. Despite its smaller size than some states, Louisiana's 24,898 reports suggest that its residents are disproportionately affected by identity theft. The most common identity theft types in Louisiana are credit card fraud (43%), Other Identity Theft (39%), Loan or Lease Fraud (28%), Phone or Utilities Fraud (8%) and Bank Fraud (5%).
Florida ranks 3rd with 524 reports per 100,000 people and 111,221 reports. The most common identity theft types in Florida are credit card fraud (53%), Other Identity Theft (32%), Loan or Lease Fraud (14%), Bank Fraud (8%) and Phone or Utilities Fraud (6%).
Delaware ranks 4th with 484 reports per 100,000 people. Delaware's high rate is notable, especially given its smaller population. The most common identity theft types in Delaware are credit card fraud (40%), Other Identity Theft (31%), Bank Fraud (19%), Loan or Lease Fraud (14%) and Phone or Utilities Fraud (8%).
Nevada ranks 5th with 418 reports per 100,000 people and 12,672 reports. The most common identity theft types in Nevada are credit card fraud (45%), Other Identity Theft (35%), Loan or Lease Fraud (15%), Bank Fraud (8%) and Phone or Utilities Fraud (7%).
States With the Lowest Rates of Identity Theft
With only 76 Reports per 100,000 people, South Dakota ranks the lowest (50th) in terms of identity theft rate across the US. South Dakota had 670 reported incidents. According to the FTC, the most common identity theft types in South Dakota are credit card fraud (34%), Bank Fraud (25%), Other Identity Theft (21%), Employment or Tax-Related Fraud (12%) and Loan or Lease Fraud (11%).
Vermont ranks 49th with 90 Reports per 100,000 people. The state reported 564 incidents. The most common identity theft types in Vermont are credit card fraud (39%), Bank Fraud (27%), Other Identity Theft (20%), Loan or Lease Fraud (10%), Employment or Tax-Related Fraud (8%) and Phone or Utilities Fraud (8%).
Wyoming ranks 48th with 95 Reports per 100,000 people. Wyoming reported 552 incidents. The most common identity types in Wyoming are credit card fraud (35%), Other Identity Theft (27%), Bank Fraud (18%), Employment or Tax-Related Fraud (13%) and Loan or Lease Fraud (10%).
Iowa ranks 47th with 98 Reports per 100,000 people. Iowa reported 3,097 incidents. The most common identity theft types in Iowa are credit card fraud (35%), Bank Fraud (24%), Other Identity Theft (22%), Employment or Tax-Related Fraud (12%) and Loan or Lease Fraud (10%).
Maine ranks 46th with 103 Reports per 100,000 people. The state reported 1,377 incidents. The most common types of identity theft in Maine are credit card fraud (31%), Other Identity Theft (24%), Bank Fraud (21%), Employment or Tax-Related Fraud (165) and Government Documents or Benefits Fraud (9%).
FAQ About Identity Theft
Navigating identity theft data can spark various questions. Here are some of the most commonly raised questions and answers about identity theft trends in the United States.
MoneyGeek compiled relevant resources to help you further navigate identity theft. Each link provides deeper insights or actionable advice related to identity theft and financial security.
- Disputing a Credit Card Charge: Discover the steps and considerations when disputing a credit card charge, a crucial action when faced with suspicious transactions linked to identity theft.
- How to Freeze Your Credit: Learn how to freeze your credit – an effective measure to prevent unauthorized access and protect your financial information from potential misuse.
About Nathan Paulus
- Federal Trade Commission. "Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2022." Accessed September 6, 2023.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Who experiences scams? A story for all ages." Accessed October 6, 2023.
- Whitehouse.gov. "Fact Sheet: President Biden’s Sweeping Pandemic Anti-Fraud Proposal." Accessed October 6, 2023.
- ID Watchdog Equifax. "Identity Theft Affects Every Generation." Accessed October 6, 2023.