The unfortunate cost of doing business online or with plastic is not the interest rate but the risk of fraud. As technology allows systems and people to become more interconnected, it presents an easier gateway for people looking for unauthorized access to financial information. No longer does an individual need to snatch a purse to get a credit card number. There are many other tools at their disposal.
Experian reports that in 2017, consumers experienced a 21.6% increase in losses due to fraudulent activity compared to 2016. The total number reached $905 million for 2017 alone. That translated to a median loss amount of roughly $429. Financial information gets exposed in a number of ways. One of the most widespread is data breaches. In 2017, almost 179 million records were exposed in the aftermath of 1,579 data breaches.
These breaches often result in identity theft for many consumers. In fact, 31.7% of victims affected by a data breach later experience fraud. This is a big difference compared to individuals who are not victims of any known data breaches as the statistic here is only 2.8%. The most commonly reported type of fraudulent activity was credit card fraud, which totaled 133,015.
WalletHub confirms that credit card fraud is one of the top concerns consumers report. People are worried about losing their hard-earned dollars. The good news for consumers is that financial institutions are charged with the liability in most of these instances. For instance, 72% of fraudulent losses in 2015 got charged to the card issuers, not the consumers.
Because of the wide-reaching effects of identity theft and financial fraud on people and institutions, prosecutors rarely show mercy in a courtroom. The electronic breadcrumbs often created by electronic transactions also make it difficult for all but exceptionally experienced techies to cover their tracks when caught. This prompts many to seek expert representation from experienced professionals.