A Fifth of Consumers Affected by Identity Fraud in 2020

One in five people have been affected by identity fraud this year, having been informed that their personal information has been exposed as the result of a data breach. This is according to the GBG State of Digital Identity: 2020 report, which found that the trust gap between businesses and consumers could be widening due to the greater prevalence of identity theft since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The findings come amid a year in which there has been a much greater reliance on digital services as a result of social distancing restrictions. GBG noted that 47% of people had opened up a new online shopping account while 35% had opened a new social media account and 31% an online bank account in 2020. Additionally, a third of consumers aged 75 or older had signed up to a new online account this year.

The study revealed that a third of consumers have become more concerned about fraud due to COVID-19 and 33% of the public believe their personal information is currently for sale on the dark web. Despite these concerns, many businesses appear to have a lax attitude to this issue, with more than a quarter (28%) surveyed stating that “high” or “extreme” levels of fraud are accepted within their organization. This could be because of a greater emphasis on delivering a frictionless customer experience ahead of fraud prevention and security, with 54% of businesses finding this a more difficult balance to strike in the past three years.

GBG also predicts that during this year’s festive shopping period, online retailers will face an average of 20,000 fraud attempts each, potentially leading to up to 24 million customers falling victim to e-commerce fraud from November to January.

Gus Tomlinson, GM of identity fraud, Europe at GBG, commented: “The complex set of data points which shape our identity are now vital in keeping the wheels of commerce turning. They create digital trust, allowing people and providers to interact safely without opening the floodgates to fraud.”

She added: “The research shows that not only is identity fraud already prolific, the ‘trust gap’ it creates poses a risk to industries which will depend on digital trust if they are to thrive in 2021 and beyond. For some businesses and even entire sectors, we are nearing a tipping point: get this balance wrong, and lose trust – and therefore customers – for good.”

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