Here’s how identity theft threats could change in 2023

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Watchdog group has identified a number of emerging trends that could harm consumers

Identity theft will be an even larger menace to consumers next year as scammers shift tactics and focus on specific demographics. That’s the conclusion of the Identity Theft Resource Center’s (ITRC) 2023 predictions.

“In 2022, consumers doubled down on instant payment and transfer apps,” said Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of ITRC. “The velocity of social media account takeovers increased by more than 1,000% in a year due to people falling for phishing attacks and identity-based scams.”

The organization’s research shows 27% of individuals and 87% of businesses lost revenue from a social media account takeover. There was a large increase in identity fraud-related crimes where cybercriminals impersonated someone to open credit accounts using stolen personal information to bypass security features. 

‘Shift in tactics’

“These trends point towards shifts in tactics moving forward,” Velasquez said. “We expect to see identity crimes affect generations differently, depending on how people interact with the digital world, as well as a rise in scams targeting specific ethnic groups.”

One predicted change is how romance scams operate. In the past, scammers would pretend to be in love with someone they met online to persuade them to give them money. But ITRC says that scam is evolving, with criminals shifting toward platonic relationships in order to gain the trust of their victims.

“We think identity criminals could look to exploit the technology gap between people who adopt new passwordless logins and those who don’t,” Velasquez said. “We will also watch to see how much information is included in data breach notices in 2023. A lack of information on compromises leaves people and businesses vulnerable to identity crimes.”

Other trends

Other emerging identity theft trends in 2023 could include:

  • Scams targeting specific ethnic groups or immigrants with limited English proficiency will increase.

  • Identity crimes and fraud will continue to affect generations differently. Payment and contact methods vary depending on age and how each individual interacts with the digital world.

  • The increased popularity of payment apps among scammers will prompt action by Congress or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to crack down on the misuse of these apps.

  • The number of data breach notices that reveal less information about a compromise will continue to grow, putting more people and businesses at risk.

ITRC is not optimistic that legislators will act to give consumers the protection they need. It says there is plenty of evidence that data breaches are giving scammers the information they need to craft more effective phishing pitches and account takeover fraud. Despite that, the group predicts Congress will fail to pass a comprehensive privacy and data security law in 2023.

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