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Identity Fraud on the Upswing

Proactive shoppers fighting back more.

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IMAGE: BRIANAJACKSON/ISTOCK.COM

After hitting a three-year low in 2022, the average amount of time consumers spent resolving issues stemming from identity fraud skyrocketed in 2023 to nearly 10 hours. That’s according to the 21st edition of Javelin Strategy & Research’s study, “Resolving the Shattered Identity Crisis.”

When it comes to retailers, perhaps the most salient finding: Consumers were most often inclined to avoid certain merchants and close accounts and move to competitors after experiencing a fraud incident in 2023.

“There several reasons consumers spent significantly more time resolving identity fraud in 2023,” the report notes. “Consumers open and maintain multiple accounts, making fraud resolution more complex. Additionally, consumers are taking a much more active role in fraud resolution. Instead of absorbing the costs and cutting their losses (or maybe not even recognizing fraud in their accounts), many consumers feel empowered to pay attention to suspicious activity and act or seek immediate assistance when they believe something to be amiss.”

This year’s study also found that the average out-of-pocket expenses (legal fees, postage, covering fraudulent debts not reimbursed by a financial institution or merchant) for victims increased 70% in 2023.

“The increasing time needed to resolve identity fraud and the rising out-of-pocket costs for consumers highlight a growing industry need for stronger authentication standards to stop fraud before it happens,” the report notes.

Overall, combined losses from traditional identity fraud and identity fraud scams remained relatively stable at $42.9 billion: The majority of losses, $23 billion, stem from traditional identity fraud, with the remainder attributed to scams.

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