Identity thieves increasingly using ‘letter-perfect’ attacks, report finds

80% of identity compromises in 2022 were due to scams
Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 3:24 PM EDT
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(InvestigateTV) — Identity thieves are becoming more efficient at manipulating people to share personal and business information, according to the 2022 Trends in Identity Report recently released by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC).

The ITRC is a non-profit organization that focuses on minimizing the risk of fraud and identity theft for people across the country.

“What we saw in 2022 is a continuation of a high number of victims, but also how they are being victimized,” ITRC Chief Operating Office James Lee said.

Lee said the nerly 15,000 identity crimes reported to the ITRC in 2022 was nearly the same amount it saw the year prior, which was an all-time high.

“We’ve always seen phishing attacks, but you can usually tell if it was real or not real. There was always some little subtle clue,” Lee explained. “Now these attacks are increasingly letter perfect. You cannot tell that it is not a legitimate contact from an organization.”

The report also found a marked increase in driver’s license accounts being compromised, rising from 4% of government accounts that were taken over in 2021 to 15% in 2022.

“They’re intercepting your driver’s license renewal or maybe you got a new driver’s license moving from one state to another. They’re taking that information and they’re creating these letter-perfect driver’s licenses that can pass inspection,” Lee said.

The ITRC has several suggestions to help prevent online identity theft:

  • Place a credit freeze on accounts if you’re concerned about your identity being misused
  • Do not use the same password for multiple accounts
  • Use multi-factor authentication whenever possible
  • Ensure your browser is updated and secure

The ITRC has comprehensive information on how to keep personal information safe as well as free help for individuals whose accounts have been compromised.