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Posted on June 5, 2017 by in Business, Corporate ID Protection

Identity theft is on the rise. In fact, it’s at an all-time high. According to analyst firm, Javelin Strategy & Research, an estimated 15.4 million consumers were victims of identity theft in 2016, up from 13.1 million the year before.

Javelin also estimates that more than 6% of the U.S. population were confirmed victims of identity theft in 2016. Why is identity theft growing exponentially when so many consumers are trying to use their shredders, stay away from phishing scams, and guard their Social Security Numbers?

About 1 in every 16 U.S. adults were victims of ID theft last year (6.15%) — and the incidence rate jumped some 16% year over year.

Although identity thieves target individuals all the time, the big money and opportunity can be found behind corporate firewalls. In 2016, 225 organizations around the world were impacted by data breaches daily —that’s more than 20 times the rate of consumer data breaches reported. These numbers are unnerving. Today’s savvy consumers realize there’s only so much they can do to keep their personal information safe. These consumers must rely on the companies that they do business with to increase their cybersecurity efforts and prioritize consumer, employee, and company protection.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to rely solely on the security standards of those companies, and have peace of mind around the safety of your personal information. Here are some alarming stats:

  • 62% of security pros don’t know where their sensitive data is being stored
  • Analysts at Forrester report that organizations struggle with understanding and controlling sensitive data
  • Cyber criminals recognize the enterprise confusion and they’re taking advantage of it—in 2016, data breaches increased by 40%

Not all data breaches are publicly disclosed due to legal requirements, but in 2016 the documented number of breaches was huge: 1,378,509,26 – that’s over 1.3 billion. And the average total cost of a data breach to the enterprise? $7.01 million. The industries that have been most affected by this data breach boom in 2016 are featured below:

Data Breaches by industry

Source | Gemalto

How do these breaches occur? 95% of data breach attacks on enterprise networks start with spear phishing, a targeted email engineered to look legitimate and fool even tech-savvy users; the email installs malware and tries to gain system access. It can be very distressing for employees that realize they may have been responsible for a data breach after falling for a spear phishing scam.

In addition to the many frustrating ways a data breach can impact a company and its customers, it can also impact employees deeply if they have their identities stolen. The toll on employee productivity and absenteeism is clear—whether it’s a range of hours (from 33 to over 600) dedicated to completing forms, sending emails, copying documents, and running to the post office—or dealing with the emotional stress of taking control of a situation that is clearly out of their control. The employee impact is far-reaching and comes right back around to affect the employer even more. It’s an unfortunate and costly cycle. That is why identity theft protection benefits, offered by 35% of employers in 2015, could double to nearly 70% by 2018.

The inherent value of identity theft protection becomes clear when we lose control of our personal information in the public domain. Data breaches have become part of the digital landscape. Nearly every day there is a new headline about a large merchant, healthcare provider, or school suffering from a data breach. The stats are alarming — and no organization is immune. Not even the U.S. government is safe — in 2016 more than 100 million Social Security Numbers were leaked, per the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

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