No. 7: Government Documents or Benefits Fraud

Number of Reports: 24,854
In 2018, there were 16,021 reports of identity theft fraud by applying for/receiving government benefits; 4,493 reports of issued/forged driver’s licenses; 703 reports of issued/forged passports; and 5,645 other reports of government/benefits fraud.

No. 6: Loan or Lease Fraud

Number of Reports: 51,529
Loan and lease fraud was reported among six segments: business/personal loan fraud (20,328 reports), auto loan/lease fraud (18,815), non-federal student loan fraud (6,327), apartment or house rental fraud (5,439), real estate loan fraud (5,178), and federal student loan fraud (5,082). These types of identity theft also saw some of the largest increases in reports from the year prior (2017): business/personal loan (82% increase); auto loan/lease (89%); and federal student loan (119%).

No. 5: Bank Fraud

Number of Reports: 52,529
Ranked number five was bank fraud, reports of which included debit card, ETF, or ACH fraud (23,219); new account fraud (19,639); and existing account fraud (12,990). While debit, ETF, or ACH fraud reports stayed the same from the year prior, new account fraud increased 12% and existing account fraud increased 2% from 2017.

No. 4: Phone or Utilities Fraud

Number of Reports: 63,563
New mobile phone account fraud topped the phone and utilities fraud category with 33,466 reports in 2018. New utility account fraud (21,994), new landline phone account fraud (7,738), existing mobile phone account fraud (4,983), existing landline phone account fraud (1,453), and existing utility account fraud (1,322) follow.

No. 3: Employment or Tax-Related Fraud

Number of Reports: 67,374
Tax fraud (38,967 reports) decreased 38% from the year prior, however employment or wage-related fraud (30,592) increased 44% from 2017.


No. 2: Other Identity Theft

Number of Reports: 122,499
While 87,765 reports of identity theft were categorized as simply “other,” the second most reported types of identity theft also included medical services (13,833), online shopping or payment account (10,294), email or social media (9,439), evading the law (4,439), insurance fraud (3,675), and securities accounts (1,877).

No. 1: Credit Card Fraud

Number of Reports: 157,688
Credit card fraud was the most commonly reported type of identity theft in 2018. Theft on new accounts made up 130,928 of reports, while theft of existing accounts totaled 32,329 reports. While theft of existing accounts decreased from the year prior, theft of new accounts increased 24% from 2017.

Consumer reports of identity theft continue to rise, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2018. The number of reports has jumped 415.48% over a 17-year span, from 86,250 reports in 2001 to 444,602 in 2018. From the previous year alone, consumer-reported identity theft increased 19.82% from 371,034.

Credit card fraud was the most rampant form of identity theft. According to the FTC, it receivd more than 167,000 reports from people who said their information was misused on an existing account or to open a new credit card account. While credit card fraud was the most common subset of identity theft, many other various types including loan or lease fraud contributed to last year’s gains.

Overall, identity theft is the third highest reported type of fraud in the Data Book, after imposter scams (535,417) and debt collection (475,517).

The top seven most common types of identity theft in 2018 are highlighted in the slideshow above.

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