As countries across the world move toward digital currency and cashless societies, it’s important to be aware of the risks that technology can pose for your finances. With the prevalence of ecommerce and online payments, anyone can be a target of fraud and identity theft. Familiarize yourself with these 25 credit card fraud statistics and the steps to report fraud so that you can actively protect your money and information online.
What Is Credit Card Fraud?
Credit card fraud is a type of identity theft that occurs when someone that is not you uses your credit card or account information for an unauthorized charge. Fraud can happen as a result of a stolen, misplaced, or counterfeit credit card. Additionally, the rise of online retail has made card-not-present fraud, or the use of your credit card number in e-commerce transactions, more prevalent.
In the United States, credit card fraud was the most common form of identity theft in four of the last five years. The U.S. is the country with the most fraud and makes up more than a third of global card fraud losses. It’s important to arm yourself with knowledge about credit card fraud and identity theft so that you can practice good money habits and awareness in your everyday life.
Key Credit Card Theft Findings
We’ve compiled key findings from the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Annual Data Book of 2020 to keep you informed about the frequency and severity of credit card fraud, as well as identified statistics about the populations who are most vulnerable to fraud.
- The most frequent payment method identified out of all fraud reports was credit cards.
- Credit card fraud made up a total of 459,297 reported instances of fraud and identity theft combined in 2020.
- 66,090 cases of reported fraud
- 393,207 cases of reported identity theft
- In identity theft cases, people ages 30-39 reported the most instances of credit card fraud while those age 80 and older reported the least.
- Instances of identity theft by credit card fraud increased by 44.6% from 271,927 in 2019 to 393,207 in 2020.
- Identity theft by new credit card accounts increased by 48% in 2020.
Identity Theft Statistics
When a person steals your identity and personal information and uses it to commit fraud, this is considered identity theft. Different types of information may be stolen during identity theft, with Social Security numbers, credit card information, and bank account numbers being common targets. Dive into these identity theft findings and see how credit card fraud makes up the bulk of these cases.
1. From 2019 to 2020, the number of identity theft reports went up by 113% and the number of reports of identity theft by credit cards increased by 44.6%.
2. Credit card fraud accounted for 393,207 of the nearly 1.4 million reports of identity theft in 2020.
3. This makes credit card fraud the second most common type of identity theft reported, behind only government documents and benefits fraud for that year.
4. Fraud committed through new credit card accounts increased to 365,597 cases in 2020.
5. The amount of fraud by new credit card accounts saw a 48% increase from 2019.
6. In 2020, 33,852 reports specified that existing credit card accounts were the target of identity theft.
7. Reports of identity theft by existing credit card accounts only increased by 9% in 2020 when compared to 2019.
8. Credit card fraud was the leading type of identity theft in 4 out of the last 5 years.
9. People ages 30-39 reported the most cases of identity theft by credit card in 2020 (110,952 reports).
10. In contrast, those 80 and older reported the least cases of credit card identity theft (2,056 reports), followed closely by those 19 and younger (2,186 reports).
11. Card-not-present fraud is rising and is tied to 65% of all losses to fraud. (Nilson Report)
Debit Card vs. Credit Card Fraud
When it comes to protecting your wallet, it’s important to know what payment methods scammers are targeting. Although many credit cards offer protections or zero liability against fraud for consumers, they’re also the most frequently targeted payment method. Debit cards follow as a close second, so it’s best to guard your card information closely.
12. Out of nearly 2.2 million reports of fraud in 2020, only 373,423 identified a payment method.
13. Of those, 91,515 reports identified credit cards as the payment method.
14. Making up nearly 25% of fraud reports with payment identified, credit cards were the most common payment stolen.
15. In contrast, debit cards were identified as the payment method in 63,352 fraud reports.
16. Debit cards made up 17% of fraud cases that mentioned a payment method, and they’re the second most common payment method used.
17. Credit card fraud resulted in more lost dollars than debit cards in 2020, with $149 million in total losses.
18. Debit cards resulted in a total of $117 million lost in 2020.
Most Dangerous States for Fraud and Identity Theft, Plus Future Projections
It’s helpful to be aware of which states are the most dangerous for credit card fraud and identity theft so that you can be cautious wherever you are located. This knowledge can help you take precautions depending on where you live or if you’re considering moving or visiting out of state.
19. The top five states with the highest percentages of credit card fraud are California (45%), Florida (44%), Georgia (42%), Alabama (42%), and Maryland (40%).
20. California not only had the highest percentage of credit card identity theft, but had the most reports of it (over 66,300 reports).
21. Florida trails closely behind with about 44,600 reported cases of identity theft by credit card.
22. Credit card fraud was the leading type of identity theft in 17 states and territories: AL, AK, CA, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, ID, IA, MD, NJ, NY, OR, PA, SD, and VA.
23. In 33 additional states and territories, credit card fraud was identified as one of the top three leading types of identity theft: AZ, AR, CO, HI, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, PR, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, and WY.
24. The top five states with the lowest percentages of credit card fraud are Kansas (3%), Maine (5%), Massachusetts (10%), Illinois (11%), and Oklahoma (12%).
25. By 2025, the United States is projected to reach $12.5 billion in card fraud losses. (Nilson Report)
How To Report Credit Card Fraud
If you suspect credit card fraud at all, it’s important to take all the necessary steps to protect yourself. For a breakdown of how to stop fraud and recover your accounts and identity, follow these recommended steps.
Step 1: Alert Companies About Fraud
Alert your credit card company and any other companies where the fraud occurred. You can do this by calling the company’s fraud department and explaining your situation. You’ll opt to either close or freeze your accounts so no one can make new charges. It’s also wise to update your login information and any associated PINs for your account.
Step 2: Place a Fraud Alert On Your Accounts
A fraud alert lets potential creditors know that precautions should be taken to verify your identity when extending you any credit. It’s free to add through one of the major credit bureaus for one year and will protect you and your identity from imposters.
Step 3: Retrieve a Credit Report
Next, it’s important to request a credit report from a major credit bureau. The FTC recommends using annualcreditreport.com to retrieve a credit report for free. Once you have your credit report, you should carefully review it to catch any suspicious accounts or purchases you didn’t make so that you can report it.
Step 4: Report Fraud and Identity Theft to the FTC
To report identity theft, simply file a report online with the FTC. After filling out the online form, an identity theft report and recovery plan will be made for you. This report is based on the information you provided in the online form, so try to be as detailed as possible. With a report, you have proof that your identity was stolen and you’ll be afforded certain rights.
Remember to print your report if you choose not to create an account at IdentityTheft.gov because you won’t be able to access or update it later. You can also opt to create an account to keep track of your recovery plan and forms online.
You can now also report fraud online to the FTC by filling out a quick report, but it isn’t necessary to file both an identity theft and fraud report.
Step 5: Notify the Police of Identity Theft
After filing a report with the FTC, you may also wish to report the fraud and identity theft to the police. This is completely optional, and you’ll want to take the following materials with you:
- Government-issued photo identification (e.g., a driver’s license or passport)
- Proof of address (e.g., a utility bill or bank statement)
- A copy of your Identity Theft Report from the FTC
- Any proof of theft (e.g., a notice from the IRS)
- FTC Memo to Law Enforcement
The impact of fraud and identity theft on individual lives and finances is rising every year. Educate yourself about credit card fraud statistics so that you can take precautions when it comes to your money. To help stay vigilant about fraud, link your credit card account to the Mint app, so you can keep track of any suspicious transactions.
Sources: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau | Federal Trade Commission 1 2 3 4 5 | Krebs on Security | Money and Mental Health Policy Institute | PC Mag 1 2 | Psychology Today | The Washington Post |