Identity Theft Victim Stats

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ID Theft in Canada

Findings

Identity theft in Canada continues to rise at an alarming rate, with over half of these crimes originating from non-digital material. All Canadians are at risk of having their identity stolen non-electronically from any physical location where they have frequented.

Insights & Statistics:

  • According to a 2019 study by Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, 69% of Canadians survey are concerned about identity theft and 79% shred personal documents before disposing of them.
  • Identity thefts rose from 2.37 incidents per 100,000 to 10.11 incidents per 100,000 from 2010 to 2018 in Canada.
  • A 2017 Identity Theft Assessment and Prediction Report determined that 53% of identity fraud originates from non-digital material.
  • It has been estimated that North American businesses spent over $102 billion dollars on cybersecurity in 2018 and only $12 million dollars on securing information in physical form.
  • The victims of identity theft in Canada are of all ages and lifestyles. However, the majority of victims of identity theft in Canada are those with good or potentially good credit ratings.
  • Not all identity theft victims are individuals. Corporations, financial institutions, and small businesses are also identity theft victims in Canada.
  • Non- electronic identity theft victims in Canada can be targeted by having the red flags up on their mailboxes, also known as 'steal me' flags to identity thieves. Identity thieves will steal outgoing mail and search for valuable information like bank account and credit card numbers.
  • Criminals also target other locations where identity theft victims in Canada may not feel at risk like a victim's car, workplace, trash dumpster, and places of recreation.
  • Many identity theft victims in Canada report that it can take months or even years, with considerable personal expense, to restore their identity and credit rating.
  • Individual identity theft victims in Canada often suffer financial loss, damage to their credit rating, damage to their reputation, and emotional distress. Identity theft victims may even be mistaken by law enforcement as the criminals.
  • Corporations, financial institutions, and small businesses who are the victims of identity theft in Canada can suffer financial loss, damage to reputation and credibility, and a significant negative impact on future operations.
  • Research Strategy

    We gathered insights and statistics from multiple credible sources about non-electronic identity theft victims in Canada like the Public Safety Department of the Canadian government, Consumer Protection Ontario, and Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada. We were able to find recent statistics about the number of identity theft crimes overall in Canada. We were unable to find recent specific statistics for non-electronic identity theft in Canada. However, we can reasonably conclude from the 2017 Identity Theft Assessment and Prediction Report statistic (bullet point number four) that was mentioned in an article about North America and published by a Canadian newspaper that this statistic about non-electronic identity theft would also be directly relevant for Canadian victims. We can also reasonably conclude from our research that insights about who the victims are in Canada who are most targeted for identity theft, what their typical recovery times are in Canada to have their identities restored, and what the repercussions are in Canada for having their identities stolen would be true for both victims of electronic and non-electronic identity theft.

Sources
Sources

Quotes
  • "Common (non-electronic) methods for stealing your identity include stealing your mail, looking for personal documents in your trash, and taking information through public sources like telephone books."
Quotes
  • "In May 2017, Toronto Police announced that they’d arrested the leader of a $10-million identity theft ring in a massive investigation dubbed Project Royal. "
  • "His modus operandi was surprisingly simple—he and his associates would steal mail from condo buildings, painstakingly piecing together their victims’ identities until they had enough information to apply for credit. For 10 years, Chrome had evaded detection by only stealing small amounts at a time—mostly between $100 and $5,000."
  • "Indeed, intercepting snail mail is a fairly easy way to steal an identity, especially if your victim receives paper financial statements. Tactics can include Dumpster diving, but also the slightly more sophisticated mail-forwarding fraud—for this, all a thief has to do is input your address, a new one and a credit card number at Canada Post’s website in order to reroute your mail to a vacant, abandoned or for-sale property."
Quotes
  • "Insidious crooks will also steal mail, raid trash cans and engage in “shoulder surfing” — peeking at your PIN at ATMs and credit/debit machines — in their hunt for such details as birth date, social insurance number, mother’s maiden name, driver’s licence number and personal information numbers."
  • "People of all ages and walks of life are vulnerable, according to Capital One Canada. Other tips to cut your risk — and up your guard: Shred personal and financial documents."
Quotes
  • "Victims of identity theft often suffer financial loss, damage to their credit rating and reputation as well as emotional distress. Many are also left with the complicated and sometimes arduous task of clearing their name and credit rating. Many victims report that it takes them months, if not years, and substantial personal expense to clear their credit ratings."
  • "Unlike certain crimes that are specific to particular types of property and locations - for example, car theft and burglary - identity theft is committed in every place associated with daily life. Identity thieves target residences, workplaces and even places of recreation."
  • "In broad terms, identity theft refers to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's identifying information for the purpose of fraud or other criminal activity, typically for economic gain. Such data may include name and date of birth and a range of closely related information such as social insurance numbers in Canada and Social Security numbers in the United States, as well as passport, driver's license and credit card numbers. Once stolen, the personal information can be used to take over or create financial accounts, transfer bank balances, apply for loans and credit or purchase goods and services. "
  • "Identity thieves may also present or create documents such as birth certificates or immigration documents to obtain benefits such as health care, education, social assistance and public pensions. The victim may not discover the effects of the fraud until weeks, months or even years later. "
  • "The victims of identity theft come from every age group and all segments of society; however, the majority of victims appear in segments of the population with good or potentially good credit ratings. Individuals are not the only victims of identity theft. Corporations, financial institutions and small businesses can suffer not only financial loss but also damage to reputation, credibility and future operations. "
  • "Criminals regard both incoming and outgoing mail as a potential target for identity theft. Incoming mail, for example, may contain solicitations for "pre-approved" credit cards. "
  • "Outgoing mail from residences can also provide information valuable to identity thieves. Consumers who pay their bills by mail routinely include their bank cheques, which typically contain personal identifying information as well as bank account and routing numbers. Credit card bill payments are also likely to include payment stubs that show the consumers' credit card numbers."
  • "Criminals also target locations where individuals may believe they are unlikely to be victimized because they regard those locations as being under their personal control. Some identity thieves, for example, have exploited their legitimate access as workers to look for identifying data in others' residences or offices. Other identity thieves target cars in which the owners have left wallets or purses, and simply break the car windows to steal identifying or financial information. Still others resort to "dumpster diving", i.e., rummaging through garbage in dumpsters or trash bins to remove documents containing valuable personal information. "
  • "Identity theft causes two distinct types of harm to its victims. The first is direct financial loss. The second, more insidious, type of harm involves indirect costs that identity theft creates for its victims. Individuals whose identities are stolen may have their credit ratings and reputations damaged, if not ruined, for extended periods of time because of the fraudulent transactions that have been conducted in their names. These indirect costs, in some cases, even include the risk that the victims of identity theft will be mistaken by law enforcement as the criminals."
  • "In some cases, identity thieves can amass large quantities of mail simply by driving along roads and removing mail from each roadside mailbox that has a red flag raised to alert postal carriers that the mailbox contains outgoing mail. The prevalence of this practice has prompted some law enforcement agents to refer to these mailbox red flags as "steal-me flags"."
Quotes
  • "According to CPA Canada's 2019 Annual Fraud Study, 69% of Canadians surveyed are concerned about identity theft. 79% shred personal documents before disposing of them."
Quotes
  • "In 2018, there were 10.11 incidents of identity theft per 100,000 residents in Canada, (increasing) from 2.37 incidents of identity theft per 100,000 residents in Canada in 2010."
Quotes
  • "Forbes Magazine estimates that North American businesses spent over $102-billion (U.S.) on cybersecurity in 2018 – compared to the $12-million (U.S.) allocated to dealing with information in physical form."
  • " A 2017 Identity Theft Assessment and Prediction Report found that 53 percent of identity fraud originates from non-digital material."