Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud Statistics for 2023

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The latest identity theft and credit card fraud statistics paint a bleak picture. Since 2020, they have been among the most common types of fraud. While reports of identity theft and credit card fraud have dropped, as of the first half of 2023 they remain above pre-pandemic levels.

After doubling between 2019 and 2020, reports of identity theft continued to grow in 2021 with nearly 1.4 million people being impacted. 1.1 million reports of identity theft were collected by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2022 and 559,000 reports have been filed to the FTC through the first half of 2023.

Read on for a full report covering identity theft statistics, how these crimes have evolved, the demographics at the biggest risk, and much more.

Key findings

  • There were 1.108 million reports of identity theft in 2022. 559,000 instances of identity theft have been reported through the first half of 2023.
  • Credit card fraud was the most common type of identity theft in 2022, with 440,666 reports. 219,713 credit card fraud reports have been filed in the first half of 2023.
  • Synthetic fraud is the fastest growing form of identity theft. The auto lending industry suffered $1.8 billion in losses due to synthetic fraud in the first half of 2023. The retail and video game industries are targeted most by synthetic fraud.
  • Synthetic fraud is on the rise in the auto lending industry
  • Those aged 30 to 39 reported the most cases of identity theft.
  • Georgia, Louisiana, and Florida were the top three states for identity theft per capita.
  • Government documents or benefits fraud declined by 85% in 2022 from 2021, with 57,912 reports filed compared to 396,025 in 2021.
  • There were 1,802 data breaches in 2022, a 3% decline from the all-time high set in 2021.
  • Over 422 million people were impacted by data breaches in 2022, up 44% from 2021.

Identity theft in the United States

The Federal Trade Commission received 1.1 million reports of identity theft in 2022 and has received 559,000 reports through the first half of 2023. Identity theft was the second-most common type of complaint lodged by consumers, and it accounted for 21% of all the reports received by the FTC.

The identity theft statistics collected by the FTC are based on reports from consumers, so it's likely that there are many cases of identity fraud that go uncounted.

A line chart showing a rapid increase in identity theft after 2019.
Year Identity theft reports (thousands)
2017 371
2018 444
2019 650
2020 1,389
2021 1,435
2022 1,108
2023 (Q1 and Q2) 559
Data source: Federal Trade Commission (2023).

The rate of identity theft increased significantly from 2017 to 2021, from 371,000 reports to 1.4 million. While reports of identity theft dropped from 2021 to 2022, they remain well above pre-pandemic rates.

According to a report by Javelin Strategy & Research, identity theft cases resulted in losses of $20 billion in 2022, a 15% drop from their 2021 study.

The most common types of identity theft

Identity theft comes in many forms. Government documents or benefits fraud was the most common type of identity theft in 2021 but plummeted in 2022, likely as government benefits from the COVID-19 pandemic wound down. Bank fraud and credit card fraud were the only two types of identity theft to grow from 2021 to 2022, with the latter being the most common type of identity theft that year.

Type of identity fraud Reported cases, 2022 Perchange in reported cases
Credit Card Fraud 440,666 13%
Other Identity Theft 326,505 -13%
Bank Fraud 156,134 25%
Loan or Lease Fraud 153,578 -22%
Employment or Tax-Related Fraud 103,416 -7%
Phone or Utilities Fraud 77,316 -13%
Government Documents or Benefits Fraud 57,912 -85%
Data source: Federal Trade Commission (2023).

Bank fraud cases grew 25% in 2022 compared to the previous year, while credit card fraud jumped 13%.

Fraudsters using stolen identity information to open new bank accounts under a victim's name grew by 32% in 2022. Nearly 111,000 Americans reported new account bank fraud in 2022 compared to about 84,000 in 2021, according to the FTC.

Bank fraud relating to debit cards, electronic funds transfers, or ACH grew by 12% in 2022 compared to the previous year. Existing account fraud increased by 22%.

Looking at credit card fraud, existing account fraud grew 22% while new account fraud -- the most common type of identity theft in 2022 -- grew 13%.

The largest drop in reported identity theft came in the form of government benefits fraud, which saw a 88% decline from 2021 to 2022. That's likely due to COVID-19 benefits drying up.

The growth of synthetic account fraud

Identity thieves are always developing new ways to steal money. A relatively new form of identity theft, called synthetic account fraud, is one of the fastest-growing financial crimes in the nation.

Synthetic account fraud involves a combination of real and fabricated information, such as a real Social Security number and a false name. The synthetic identity can be used to apply for credit cards, loans, and government benefits. Perpetrators often spend time building a good credit score with synthetic identities. Then, they max out an identity's credit and abandon its accounts.

Retail and the video game industries are the most common targets for synthetic fraud, according to analysis from TransUnion. In the first half of 2023, 10.6% of retail transactions and 7% of video game transactions were suspected to be fraudulent or attempts at fraud.

Synthetic fraud attempts in the retail industry have grown 183% from the first of half of 2019 to the first half of 2023. Video game fraud rates have fallen during that period, but still remain high. Synthetic fraud involving financial services has grown 382% and fraud in the travel and leisure industry grew 353% -- the fastest and second-fastest growing rates of synthetic fraud attempts.

Synthetic fraud attempts by industry Suspected fraud attempt rate, first half 2023 Percent change from first half of 2019 Suspected fraud attempt rate coming from the U.S., first half 2023 Top fraud type
Retail 10.60% 183% 1.00% Promotion abuse
Video games 7.00% -32% 0.80% Gold farming
Telecommunications 5.30% 2% 1.70% Credit card fraud
Gaming (online gambling) 4.70% 24% 3.70% Promotion abuse
Financial services 4.30% 382% 4.30% Identity fraud
Communities (online dating, forums, etc.) 4.10% -16% 10.20% Profile misrepresentation
Travel and leisure 2.30% 353% 2.80% Credit card fraud
Insurance 1.60% 61% 4.50% Third party application fraud
Logistics 0.90% 14% 5.70% Shipping fraud
Data source: TransUnion (2023).

Among lenders, auto lenders are most exposed to synthetic fraud, with losses in the first half of 2023 totaling $1.8 billion. That's more than double that of bank credit cards and 10 times more than retail credit cards and unsecured personal loans.

Lender industry First half, 2023 First half, 2022 Percent change
Auto loans $1.8 billion $1.3 billion 38%
Bank credit cards $994 million $917 million 8%
Retail credit cards $126 million $144 million -13%
Unsecured personal loans $57 million $57 million 0%
Data source: TransUnion (2023).

Fraudsters target the auto industry because they view it as most profitable, according to Shai Cohen, the senior vice president and head of global fraud solutions at TransUnion. Using a synthetic identity, fraudsters can secure an auto loan for an expensive car, leaving an innocent victim and auto company on the hook.

Identity theft reports by age

Age Identity theft reports in 2021 Identity theft reports in 2022 Percent change
19 and Under 22,833 23,953 5%
20 - 29 191,334 179,902 -6%
30 - 39 308,910 286,304 -7%
40 - 49 266,269 212,455 -20%
50 - 59 206,514 139,653 -32%
60 - 69 118,093 77,710 -34%
70 - 79 45,068 31,361 -30%
80 and Over 9,917 8,193 -17%
Data source: Federal Trade Commission (2022) Note: not all reports include the identity theft victim's age.

Those in the 30-to-39 age range have recorded the most identity theft reports for years.

All age groups other than those 19 and younger saw a decline in identity theft reports in 2022 compared to 2021. Americans 19 and younger experienced a 5% increase.

Here's a look at the most common types of identity fraud for each age group:

Age Most common type of identity theft Number of reports Percentage of age's total identity theft reports 2021
19 and under Employment or tax-related fraud 16,901 66%
20 to 29 Credit card fraud 71,574 33%
30 to 39 Credit card fraud 121,157 35%
40 to 49 Credit card fraud 90,576 35%
50 to 59 Credit card fraud 57,954 35%
60 to 69 Credit card fraud 29,140 32%
70 to 79 Credit card fraud 10,801 30%
80 and over Credit card fraud 2,560 27%
Data source: Federal Trade Commission (2023).

Identity theft by state

Here are the states with the most identity theft reports in 2021:

  1. California: 125,121
  2. Texas: 113,740
  3. Florida: 111,183
  4. New York: 60,830
  5. Georgia: 60,332

Population sizes play a large role in which states have the most identity theft reports. To get an accurate idea of where identity theft is most prevalent, we can look at each state's number of reports per 100,000 residents.

States ranked by identity theft reports per capita, 2021

State Reports per 100K people Total number of reports
Georgia 568 60,332
Louisiana 535 24,897
Florida 521 111,183
Delaware 477 4,680
Nevada 401 12,282
Texas 394 113,740
Pennsylvania 363 47,146
Alabama 355 17,764
South Carolina 352 17,903
Mississippi 346 10,261
Maryland 337 20,737
Illinois 332 42,553
California 317 125,151
New Jersey 311 28,695
North Carolina 305 31,609
New York 302 60,830
Arizona 265 18,787
Ohio 263 30,935
Virginia 258 22,178
Tennessee 235 16,113
Connecticut 226 8,131
Massachusetts 222 15,518
Rhode Island 222 2,421
Michigan 216 21,760
Missouri 197 12,087
Kansas 193 5,647
Colorado 186 10,658
Indiana 184 12,424
Arkansas 173 5,187
Utah 171 5,519
Washington 156 11,864
Oklahoma 154 6,068
New Mexico 151 3,188
Oregon 150 6,294
West Virginia 148 2,659
Wisconsin 142 8,319
New Hampshire 138 1,894
Minnesota 128 7,263
Hawaii 126 1,826
Idaho 123 2,222
Kentucky 119 5,336
North Dakota 109 846
Alaska 104 767
Montana 104 1,123
Nebraska 103 2,019
Maine 101 1,377
Iowa 97 3,098
Wyoming 95 550
Vermont 88 565
South Dakota 76 670
Data source: Federal Trade Commission (2023).

Fourteen states saw identity theft per 100,000 residents increase from 2021 to 2022, although none were significant. Not all identity theft reports filed to the FTC contain location information, so the data set is not 100% accurate.

If you want to delve even deeper into specific locations, you can look at which metropolitan areas are hotspots for identity theft.

Top metropolitan areas for identity theft

Metropolitan Area Reports per 100K Population # of Reports
Tuscaloosa, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area 1,064 2,829
Baton Rouge, Louisiana Metropolitan Statistical Area 962 8,346
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area 871 53,177
Lafayette, Louisiana Metropolitan Statistical Area 796 3,819
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area 766 46,188
Sumter, South Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 647 888
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area 644 45,393
Savannah, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area 590 2,368
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area 583 15,338
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Delaware-Maryland Metropolitan Statistical Area 556 34,553
Montgomery, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area 548 2,108
Columbia, South Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 539 4,453
Columbus, Georgia-Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area 527 1,717
Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area 523 3,731
Tallahassee, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area 522 1,998
Memphis, Tennessee-Mississippi-Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area 516 6,891
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada Metropolitan Statistical Area 486 10,842
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California Metropolitan Statistical Area 483 63,723
New Orleans-Metairie, Louisiana Metropolitan Statistical Area 481 6,109
LaGrange, Georgia-Alabama Micropolitan Statistical Area 480 501
Killeen-Temple, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area 472 2,209
Gadsden, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area 455 471
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area 450 33,974
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, North Carolina-South Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 450 11,803
Albany, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area 436 651
Data source: Federal Trade Commission (2023).

Credit card fraud in the United States

Credit card fraud was the most common type of identity theft in 2022 and through the first half of 2023.

From 2017 through 2019, credit card fraud was the most common type of identity theft, only to be overtaken by government documents and benefits fraud in 2020 and 2021 when scammers took advantage of pandemic-era government benefit programs.

Credit card fraud reports by year

A line graph showing a rapid increase in credit card theft starting in 2018, leveling off in 2021.
Year Credit card fraud reports
2019 271,708
2020 393,440
2021 389,777
2022 440,666
2023 (Q1 & Q2) 219,713
Data source: Federal Trade Commission (2023).

Credit card fraud has been consistently rising with just a 1% decline blip in 2021. That came after a 45% increase from 2019 to 2020 and a 72% increase from 2018 to 2019, and was followed by a 13% increase in 2022. Based on reports from the first half of 2023, credit card fraud looks to be on pace with 2022.

Types of credit card fraud

There are two types of credit card fraud:

  • New account: An identity thief uses your information to open a credit card account in your name.
  • Existing account: An identity thief uses a credit card that you opened. This is usually done by stealing the credit card information.

Here are the number of fraud reports for each of these and how much they changed from 2021 to 2022:

Type of credit card fraud Number of reports in 2021 Change from 2020
New account 409,033 13%
Existing account 39,398 22%
Data source: Federal Trade Commission (2023).

Both new account fraud and existing account fraud increased in 2022, in line with credit card fraud growing overall.

When you think of ways to avoid credit card fraud, preventing people from getting your card information probably comes to mind. But the statistics show us that it's actually far more likely for someone to open an entirely new account using your personal data than for fraud to occur via a stolen credit card.

Why has there been a shift to new account fraud? There are several explanations that likely play a part:

  • Existing account fraud has become more difficult. Because of credit card chip technology, the transaction process is more secure and it's harder for criminals to counterfeit credit cards.
  • Data breaches have exposed information for hundreds of millions of people. Identity thieves can use this information for new account fraud.
  • It's easier to steal money through new account fraud, since it's an entirely new account that the consumer doesn't know about. With an existing account, the card issuer or the consumer may notice suspicious activity and lock the card in the event of an account takeover by identity thieves.

It's important to remember that you can dispute credit card charges with your credit card issuer if your card or information has been stolen. Your creditor can then help remove fraudulent charges, which could impact your credit report down the line.

Fraud detection and prevention plus other consumer protections are huge advantages of using a credit card, of course -- in addition to the opportunity to increase your credit score. The Ascent has a guide on how to apply for a credit card and get approved.

Data breaches

Data breaches are one of the ways criminals commit identity theft and credit card fraud. The hackers who steal information through data breaches often sell it on the dark web. Buyers then use the information for various types of fraud.

According to Nationwide, 58% of consumers are concerned about being a victim of cybercrime, but 69% don't have cyber insurance.

Cyber insurance can limit costs stemming from cybercrime and reduce the amount of time it takes to recover from cyberattacks.

The most cited reasons for consumers to not have cyber insurance are lack of knowledge about cyber insurance, not knowing cyber insurance is available to them, and thinking that coverage is too expensive, per Nationwide.

Obtaining cyber insurance may be wise. Sixty-nine percent of consumers don't feel prepared to recover from a cyberattack and 68% haven't thought about how they would respond, Nationwide found.

Data breaches by year

Year Number of data breaches Number of individuals impacted
2016 1,104 2,541,581,891
2017 1,631 2,081,515,330
2018 1,280 2,231,245,353
2019 1,362 887,286,658
2020 1,108 300,562,519
2021 1,862 293,927,708
2022 1,802 422,143,312
Data source: Identity Theft Resource Center, 2022 Data Breach Report.

The number of data breaches in 2022 was nearly unchanged from 2021, but the number of individuals impacted was 44% higher. That's due to a massive data breach of the social media platform X, which at the time of the breach in 2022 was still called Twitter, that exposed the email addresses of roughly 200 million users.

The Identity Theft Resource Center reports that cybercriminals are simply less interested in stealing massive amounts of consumers' personal information. They prefer to target businesses because of the larger payouts, and their methods of choice are phishing and ransomware. Here's how these online identity theft attacks work:

  • Phishing is when a cybercriminal pretends to be a trusted entity so the target will click a link in an email, text message, or chat message.
  • Ransomware is a type of malware that threatens to release sensitive data if the target doesn't pay a ransom.

According to Coveware, the average ransomware payout was $740,144 as of the second quarter of 2023, up 126% from the previous quarter. The median ransomware payout, however, was $190,424, up 20% percent from the second quarter of 2023. Coveware attributes the increase to cybercriminals making higher demands and a lower number of victims paying, with those that did pay paying more than in previous periods.

It's important not to get the wrong idea from this data. As we've seen from the identity theft and credit card fraud statistics, those crimes still occur and are on the rise. The risk of having your personal information exposed in a data breach is out there, even if businesses are the bigger target now.

Causes of data breaches

Breach type 2020 2021 2022
Cyberattacks 878 1,613 1,595
Human and system errors 152 179 152
Physical attacks 78 51 46
Unknown N/A 12 10
Total 1,108 1,855 1,803
Data source: Identity Theft Resource Center, 2022 Data Breach Report.

There were three root causes of the 1,803 data breaches in 2021:

  • Cyberattacks: Includes phishing, ransomware, malware, and unsecured cloud environments.
  • Human and system errors: Includes failure to configure cloud security, email or letter correspondence, and lost devices and documents.
  • Physical attacks: Includes device theft, document theft, improper disposal, and skimming devices.

Cyberattacks are by far the most common cause of data breaches and impact the largest number of people overall. Human and system errors don't happen nearly as often, but when they do, they impact more people on average. A cyberattack in 2021 impacted an average 117,000 people, whereas each human and system error impacted about 586,000 people.

Types of data compromised

Type of data compromised Number of breaches containing data in 2021 Number of breaches containing data in 2022
Name 1,603 1,560
Full Social Security number 1,136 1,143
Date of birth 686 633
Current home address 681 565
Medical history/condition/treatment/diagnosis 464 465
Driver's license/State ID number 447 499
Bank account number 402 443
Medical insurance account number 361 370
Phone number 218 N/A
Payment card full number 211 N/A
Undisclosed records N/A 226
Medical provider account/record number N/A 196
Data source: Identity Theft Resource Center, 2022 Data Breach Report.

There were dozens of different types of data compromised in 2022's data breaches. The table above includes the numbers for the types of data that are often used for identity theft.

Most data breaches included people's names, and over half of them included full Social Security numbers. Fortunately, fewer than 20% of data breaches contained bank account or payment card information.

A turbulent year for identity theft and credit card fraud

Reported identity theft declined in 2022, but after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic, credit card fraud once again is the most common type of identity theft.

Aside from credit card fraud and bank fraud, all other major types of identity fraud declined in 2022. Government documents or benefits fraud plummeted 85% as pandemic-era programs ended.

Data breaches fell in 2022, but impacted 128 million more people in 2021 in large part due to a massive breach of X, formerly known as Twitter.

While identity theft isn't as commonplace as it was during the height of the pandemic in late 2020 and early 2021, reports still remain above what was recorded in 2019.

To prevent identity theft, the FTC recommends securing personal information whether it be in physical form or online and being vigilant when someone asks for your Social Security number or other sensitive personal information.


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