Active-duty service members are 76 percent more likely to report identity theft than most people, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The FTC reported in its newest Consumer Protection Data Spotlight that service members typically report misuse of their credit and debit card data.
The Spotlight data said that active-duty service members are nearly three times as likely as others to report when people use their debit card or other financial means to take money from their account without their permission. They’re 22 percent more likely to report misused data to open new accounts, particularly from credit cards.
The correlation isn’t random. About 14 percent of active troops facing financial fraud issues said someone they know, even a family member, was the one who had misused their data. That number is double that of non-troops, of which only 7 percent said they knew it was a family member or someone familiar to them.
Reports suggest this happens most often with active troops because of documents and information left behind while they are away from home.
The FTC has said identity theft is a prevalent problem, with over 650,570 cases reported in 2019, or 20.3 percent of the 3.2 million fraud cases reported that year.
The number was 46.4 percent higher than in 2018, with the notable increase likely being due to the high-profile data breaches of companies like Capital One and Equifax.
The coronavirus pandemic this year has further caused increases in identity theft, with 18,235 reports related to pandemic-influenced fraud since the beginning of the year, the FTC said.
The reason for the uptick could be traced to the en-masse, hastened digitization of many services as businesses were forced to shift their services to online, remote modes that left holes for fraudsters to exploit due to the little time the companies had to secure everything.
Because of the pandemic’s requirement that people stay away from each other, remote handling of financial means will likely continue to gain popularity in the future.