Identity Fraud in Focus quarterly report for Jan - Mar 2022

By Allstate Identity Protection

With Identity Fraud in Focus, we dive into the latest fraud numbers each quarter so experts, organizations, and consumers can stay informed about emerging threats online.

Read our report to discover:

  • 3 emerging scams and how to protect yourself
  • Top identity theft and fraud crimes for Jan - Mar 2022
  • An alarming rise in medical fraud to keep an eye on

3 emerging scams and how to protect yourself

Spam texts and phone calls are a problem

If it seems like you’re receiving more spam texts and calls than normal, you probably are. New data shows Americans received nearly 42 spam texts on average in March. And despite a new FCC regulatory framework, spam calls increased 32% to 72.2 billion in 2021.1 These tactics aren’t just annoying, but they’re effective: Last year Americans reported losing $131 million to fraud schemes initiated by text, a jump of more than 50% from the year before, according to data from the FTC.2 And while our new study shows that 60% of respondents have some kind of protection against spam/scams, many rely on basic features like spam alerts that come pre-installed on their devices, and are not seeking additional layers of defense.3 Fraudsters continue to find new ways to steal money, and it’s more important than ever to stay vigilant.

Quick takeaways

83%

of Americans have received a spam or scam phone call in 20223

74%

of Americans have received a spam or scam text message in 20223

Quick Tips

How to help avoid scam phone calls and texts.

  1. Don’t click on any links if you get an unsolicited text message.
  2. Avoid answering calls from unknown telephone numbers.
  3. Filter or block unwanted messages and calls on your phone.
  4. Get a call-blocking app that intercepts spam calls and texts.

Charity scams are on the rise

Fraudsters try to take advantage of crisis situations to steal money or sensitive personal information. Whether it’s a natural disaster, a global pandemic, or geopolitical unrest (such as the humanitarian crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine), criminals will launch new charity scams to exploit your generosity. But with a few precautions and a little research, you can help ensure your donation goes to the right place.

Quick takeaways

50%

of Americans are concerned about charity scams3

Quick Tips

If you want to support a cause you care about, try these tips to donate wisely.

  1. Do your research to determine that you are donating to a legitimate and established charity. You can also search for a charity or fundraiser with your state’s charity regulator.
  2. Be wary of unsolicited messages you receive (via email and social media), and verify the identity of the person contacting you.
  3. Never give your SSN or other personal information like bank account information and passwords in response to a charitable solicitation.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) payment service scams are surging

As payment speeds increase, so do scams. That’s why peer-to-peer payment services like Zelle, Venmo, and Cash App, which allow users to quickly send money, are popular targets of scammers. Because these transactions don’t carry the same consumer protections as credit card fraud, and users authorize payments ahead of time — often with just a tap or a swipe — banks typically don’t reimburse victims. So once a payment is made, it’s gone forever. Despite this growing issue, people aren't taking it seriously enough, which could lead to even higher risk.

Quick takeaways

26%

of Americans said they are not at all concerned about P2P scams3

Quick Tips

How to help protect your money when using peer-to-peer payment services.

  1. Only send money to friends and family.

  2. If your bank or a service provider calls to request payment, look up their official phone number first, then call the provider back. Scammers often use phone numbers that appear legitimate on caller ID, but are really spoofed.

  3. Be wary of scare tactics or urgent requests.

“We hear stories regularly from people who were scammed out of their nest eggs," says Allstate Identity Protection Director of Customer Care Brian Stuart. “It breaks your heart, especially when vulnerable populations are taken advantage of, because these losses aren’t typically covered. We'll continue to resolve fraud cases for members, but it is almost as important to educate and empower them to recognize scams before they become victims.”

What we saw in the first quarter of 2022

Cybercrime is still flourishing. Over the past year, Allstate Identity Protection has seen a 121% increase in fraudulent credit and/or loan inquiries and a 21% spike in new account fraud. There’s also been a 7.45% surge in government benefits fraud, led by criminal disability filings in California. We expect disability fraud cases will continue to rise in quarter two, due to last-minute tax filers, so we’re not out of the woods yet.

Case Type

Q1 YoY growth*

 

 

Credit/loan fraud

120.09%

New account fraud

21.00%

Medical fraud

66.29%

Government/tax fraud

7.45%

Account takeover fraud

-62.87%

SBA new account

-85.53%

 

 

*normalized to account for total subscriber growth

 

An alarming new fraud trend to keep an eye on

We’ve seen a 66% uptick in medical fraud in the past year. This is when a criminal uses stolen personal info to get medical treatment, prescription drugs, or surgery in a victim’s name. Our overall case numbers are relatively low, but what makes this trend alarming is, unlike other crimes we see, medical fraud takes much longer to detect. For example, if someone opens a bank account in your name, our credit monitoring service will alert you in near-real time. But you might not see a fraudulent medical bill until you’ve reached your benefit limit. This could delay important treatments.

Federal law also generally limits consumers’ liability for fraudulent credit card charges to $50,4 but with a stolen medical identity, those protections aren’t in place. In addition, healthcare data typically contains more personal identifiable information than a traditional financial breach. That’s why healthcare info is more valuable on the dark web than credit card numbers.5

Finally, medical fraud is often more dangerous because it can create errors in a victim’s patient records. This could lead to a misdiagnosis.

“The healthcare industry is particularly vulnerable to fraud. Often, patient files need to be shared with third-party vendors across a number of systems and devices some of which are outdated and lack sufficient protection,” said Allstate Identity Protection Vice President of Product Lewis Bertolucci. “That’s why our fraud-detection tools, like dark web monitoring with fast alerts, provide an important layer of defense. With digital fraud, every second counts.”

Quick takeaways

66%

increase in medical fraud year over year

83%

of healthcare systems run outdated software6

About Identity Fraud in Focus

Allstate Identity Protection helps safeguard families from identity theft and financial fraud while empowering them to take more control over the personal information they share online.

“Now more than ever, people need extra information, guidance, and support to navigate today’s threats to their security and privacy — so they can keep their families safe,” says David Harris, Chief Revenue and Commercial Officer of Allstate Identity Protection. “That’s why our quarterly Identity Fraud in Focus report is so important, so consumers, experts, and the media understand the latest digital threats. And what people can do to live more secure lives.”

  1. Robokiller, 2021 Phone Scam Insights (2022)
  2. McGill, Margaret Harding, and Sara Fischer. “Americans Are Drowning in Spam.” Axios, 18 Apr. 2022.
  3. Allstate, “Identity Protection and Scams,” May 26, 2022. This poll was conducted between May 24-May 26, 2022 on behalf of Allstate by Morning Consult, among a national sample of 2,210 adults. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, educational attainment, gender, race, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of +/- 2%.
  4. “Credit Card Fraud.” Legal Information Institute, Legal Information Institute.
  5. SecureLink, Inc. “The Value of Healthcare Data.” SecureLink, 6 May 2022.
  6. Cohen, Jason. “While US Fights Covid-19, 83 Percent of Healthcare Systems Run Outdated Software.” PCMAG, PCMag, 20 Mar. 2020. 

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