2016 was a hectic year, with a hotly-contested presidential election in the U.S., a failed coup in Turkey, many celebrity deaths, a scandalous Summer Olympics and worsening conflicts in Syria. It was also a year with a record number of identity fraud incidents, according to a Javelin Strategy & Research study.
There were more than 15 million identity fraud victims in the U.S. in 2016, which was a record high since the company started tracking identity fraud in 2003, Javelin said. The fraud incidents, which went up 16 percent from 2015, affected about 6 percent of U.S. consumers and amounted to about $16 billion in stolen money, the study found.
According to Javelin, despite lessons learned for better managing fraud, “risks inherent to growing connectivity combined with weak identity verification,” and the circumvention of antiquated measures created an environment for fraudsters to flourish.
Weak identity verification is an avoidable security threat, but lingers around every year as one of the top problems facing consumers. According to a recent study, for the fifth straight year, the most popular passwords that U.S. consumers used to secure their accounts and digital devices were “123456” and “password.” Another study found that 76 percent of people said they knew they should actively protect their information online, but still engaged in risky behaviors, including sharing passwords.
Cybersecurity professionals have recommended moving away from just using username/password combinations and according to Experian Information Solutions Inc., 2017 will be the year that consumers start moving away from using simple passwords. Perhaps 2017 won’t be another record setting year for cybersecurity incidents.
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