Since 1998, Robert M. Ryerson has served as a Certified Financial Planner with New Century Planning in Freehold, New Jersey. Holding certification as a Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist, Robert M. Ryerson also penned a book titled, “What’s the Deal with Identity Theft?” in 2016 and is a recognized expert in the field.
According to data from Experian, upwards of 179 million records were compromised in 1,579 data breaches in 2017. This represents a 44 percent increase in breaches and a 389 percent increase in total records compromised over 2016. The resulting risk from these breaches is significant, since just a year prior approximately 31.7 percent of stolen records led directly to identity theft. As these types of breaches receive more prominent media coverage, more Americans than ever (73 percent) say they are worried their information could be stolen.
Identity theft still most commonly takes place in the form of credit card fraud, with employment and tax fraud coming in second. The two most vulnerable groups are people age 19 and under, and citizens aged 60 and older. In total, $905 million was lost last year by consumers as a result of identity fraud. Those who find themselves victims of identity theft or other financial fraud should report it immediately to the Federal Trade Commission at (877) 438-4338 and consult an experienced financial professional to determine their next steps.