University of Texas at Austin Center for Identity releases identity theft report

University of Texas at Austin Center for Identity releases identity theft report

The University of Texas at Austin Center for Identity today announced that it has released a research report titled, the 2018 Identity Theft Assessment and Prediction Report, which sheds new light on the considerable emotional impact on victims of identity theft, fraud, and abuse. The report can be downloaded free of charge (PDF).

The report finds that emotional distress is by far the most common type of loss applying to 75 percent of all incidents, followed by financial loss at 54 percent. Also, 50 percent of incidents involving high emotional distress are perpetrated by insiders (e.g. employees, family members), and some market sectors affected by identity theft, such as financial services and education, are associated with higher levels of emotional distress than others.

Additionally, the report notes that very few cases of identity theft involved the abuse of an individual’s behavioral habits (e.g. online buying habits, or travel patterns). While these so called “behavioral biometrics” may play an increasingly important role in identity management, security, and privacy, they are not yet a widespread factor in the abuse of personally identifiable information for fraudulent purposes.

“As identity theft, fraud, and abuse continue to grow in both scope and impact, individuals and organizations require a deeper understanding of their vulnerabilities, risks, and resulting consequences,” said Dr. Suzanne Barber, the Center’s Director. “The ITAP report goes beyond the story to model and provides unique, research-based insights into the habits and methods associated with identity threats, and into the various factors that contribute to higher levels of risk for the compromise and abuse of personally identifiable information.”

The report was developed by the Identity Center’s Theft Assessment and Prediction project (ITAP) in conjunction with several industry partners including Generali Global Assistance, a leader in the assistance industry since its founding in 1963 and part of the global Generali Group.

The University of Texas at Austin Center for Identity works closely with its public-private partners, including corporations, state and federal government agencies, and law enforcement to deliver knowledge-based support for consumers, businesses, and government that help them to better protect their identities and personally identifiable information.

As a critical component of its mission, the Center conducts research to better understand how criminals target their victims, what methods and resources they use to commit identity theft, fraud and abuse, and the impact that identity crime has on individuals, organizations, and society as a whole.

The ITAP model is a risk assessment tool that increases the fundamental understanding of identity theft processes, as well as patterns of threats and vulnerabilities. ITAP captures and models instances of identity crime from a variety of sources, and then aggregates this data to analyze and define vulnerabilities, the value of identity information, and its risk of exposure.

Dr. Barber noted: “The analytical repository of ITAP offers valuable understanding of the actors, organizations, and devices involved in identity threats, across multiple sectors including financial services, consumer services, healthcare, education, defense, energy, and government. The data shows that half of all market sectors — nine of them — are such that over 45 percent of their incidents involve high levels of emotional distress. We are committed to conducting insightful research that characterizes the current identity threat landscape and aims to predict future identity threats.”

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