Some industries are more susceptible than others but every industry is susceptible to fraud.

Identity theft costs businesses and financial institutions nearly $48 billion each year, according to a report by the Federal State Commission (FTC). However, some industries are considered more susceptible than others.

Do you know how your industry fares?

Identity theft and cybersecurity frauds impact individual industries in different ways. For example, cybercriminals may target the public sector for espionage purposes while the retail industry may be targeted for financial gain.

The common denominator is that every industry is susceptible to fraud. How attractive your industry is to cybercriminals depends on many factors, including the size of the rewards and the vulnerability of the environment to attacks. That said, here are the 4 industries that are hard hit by identity theft.

1. Financial Services Industry

The financial services industry is one of the hardest-hit industries by identity thieves owing to its ‘large accounts’ and the tremendous amount of personal data these institutions store.

It is estimated that synthetic identity theft—a type of identity theft in which a criminal combines real and fake information to create a new identity, costs financial institutions approximately $6 billion each year.

Cybercriminals target employees of these companies because each employee typically has access to personal information of millions of customers. So if a cybercriminal can steal the identity of just one banker, they can gain access to a large pool of data that can be used to create fictitious or synthetic identities.

As a consumer, you can protect yourself by regularly monitoring your credit and if possible, enroll in a credit monitoring service, or ID theft protection software like Identity Guard.

2. Retail Industry

The retail industry has always been a ripe target for identity thieves, and for a reason. That’s because the sheer volume of transactional data that this industry produces is second to none.

Cybercriminals will target retailers in a bid to obtain transactional payment data. Upon obtaining this info, they can initiate fraudulent transactions or even follow the data trails back to the individual financial accounts and hack them for bigger gains.

So what can retailers do to mitigate theft resulting from identity theft?

By following data security best practices that will ensure their businesses are protected from cybersecurity threats. This includes protecting POS systems from cybercrime, encouraging the use of a VPN, and conducting cybersecurity awareness training.

3. Healthcare Industry

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s 2019 data breach report, the healthcare sector ranked second in the number of breaches, with 525 cases exposing 39.5 million records.

The healthcare industry has become one of the identity thieves’ hotspots and for many reasons.

First, medical records can fetch a price that’s at least 20 times higher than other personal data on the dark web. Secondly, besides the typical monetary gains, an identity thief can use a person’s data to obtain medical treatment, receive elective surgery, and even fill prescriptions.

4. Hospitality Industry

The hospitality industry is another hard-hit industry by cybercriminals, and for one major reason; it provides the perfect environment for an attack.

When thieves walk into hotels, all they see are opportunities: an industry with high turnover, distracted vacationers who pay less attention to their wallets, minimal ground checks, easy entry into guest rooms, and outdated wireless networks that are vulnerable to even a novice hacker.

To Sum Up

No industry is immune to identity theft but some industries are more vulnerable than others. Other industries that are highly susceptible to identity theft include the public sector, education, manufacturing, and the professional services industry.