Identity Theft Facts

  • Identity fraud cost 13.1 million U.S. consumers $15 billion in 2015.
  • Nationally, identity theft was the No. 2 consumer complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission, with 490,220 incidents, or 16 percent of the total complaints lodged from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2015. Identity theft complaints climbed 47 percent from 2014.
  • Nationwide, tax- or wage-related fraud was the most common form of reported identity theft, comprising almost 45 percent of complaints. Sixteen percent of complaints were due to credit card fraud and 10 percent stemmed from phone or utilities fraud. Bank fraud followed at 6 percent, loan fraud at 4 percent and employment-related fraud at 3 percent.
  • Alabamians filed 4,973 identity theft complaints with the Federal Trade Commission in 2015, equal to 102.3 cases per 100,000 residents. The number of identity theft complaints in Alabama grew by 1,203 over 2014, a 32 percent increase.
  • Alabama ranks 30th among the states in identity theft complaints. In 2014, Alabama ranked 22nd with 77.7 cases per 100,000 residents.
  • Alabama’s metropolitan areas have dropped out of the top 50 in the nation for the most identity theft complaints, and only one Alabama metro area – Montgomery – made the top 100. In 2014, three Alabama metropolitan areas had ranked in the top 50 areas in the nation for identity theft complaints. In 2015, no Alabama metro area ranked that high.
  • The Montgomery metro area dropped in rank from 34th in 2014 to 70th in 2015, but the number of complaints filed in the metro area actually increased from 425 complaints, or 113.8 for every 100,000 residents, to 521, or 130.6 for every 100,000 residents.
  • The Columbus, Ga.-Phenix City, Ala., metropolitan area moved from the 22nd spot to 157th. That area had 354 complaints or 112.7 for every 100,000 residents. Dothan’s 146 complaints, or 98.6 per 100,000, dropped it from 35th in the nation to 214th.
  • The largest number of complaints in Alabama – 1,207 – was filed in the Birmingham-Hoover metro area. Although the Birmingham/Hoover area dropped from 162nd to 180th in ranking. The number of complaints increased by 365 complaints.
  • Other Alabama metro areas and their 2015 national ranking based on identity theft complaints include: Huntsville, 132nd; Mobile, 142nd; Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, 237th; Tuscaloosa, 242nd; Auburn-Opelika, 247th; Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, 283rd; Decatur, 295th; Gadsden, 296th; and Florence-Muscle Shoals, 356th.

SOURCES: 2016 Identity Fraud Survey Report, Javelin Strategy & Research; and the Federal Trade Commission‘s February 2016 Data Book (news release).