Fewer consumers fell victim to payment card fraud in 2018, but fraud victims picked up more of the financial losses, according to Javelin Strategy & Research’s latest annual identity-fraud study.
Based on the results of its 16th annual identity-fraud study, Javelin estimates that payment-related fraud affected 14.4 million consumers last year, down 14% from the record 16.7 million in 2017. And thanks to the millions of new EMV chip cards in the U.S. that are difficult to counterfeit, fraud losses on existing credit and debit cards fell 21% to $6.4 billion from 2017’s $8.1 billion.
That was the good news. Javelin estimates 3.3 million fraud victims bore some liability for fraud in 2018, nearly three times as many as in 2016, and victims’ out-of-pocket fraud costs more than doubled in two years to $1.7 billion. Government regulations and industry policies protect consumers from most fraud losses on payment cards, but less so with newer types of identity fraud.
New-account fraud losses increased to $3.4 billion last year from $3 billion in 2017, Javelin estimates. Losses also rose from unconventional account targets such as mortgages, student loans, and auto loans. Plus, fraudsters increasingly are targeting loyalty and rewards programs and even retirement accounts, the firm said in a news release.
“While the decrease in card fraud rates is undoubtedly good news for victims, fraudsters have turned their attention to opening and taking over accounts,” Al Pascual, senior vice president, research director and head of Pleasanton, Calif.-based Javelin’s fraud and security unit, said in the release. “As financial institutions and other organizations modernize account-opening processes, it’s paramount that they incorporate tools like document scanning, behavioral risk assessments, and digital identity. This will streamline digital applications while challenging fraudsters.”
Javelin says fraudsters are growing more adept at overcoming authentication challenges. Takeovers of mobile-phone accounts jumped 79% to affect nearly 680,000 victims last year compared with 380,000 in 2017.
Javelin says it has surveyed 79,000 consumers since the fraud study began in 2003. The study’s lead sponsor this year was processor Fidelity National Information Services Inc. (FIS). Other sponsors included credit-reporting agency Experian and fraud-mitigation services provider Giact Systems LLC.