According to survey data collected by an internet security company, Malwarebytes in collaboration with the nonprofits Digitunity and the Cyberfraud Support Network, black people, Indigenous people, and people of color (BIPOC) are more likely to suffer from identity theft and the financial consequences of the fallout.
According to the survey, just 47 percent of BIPOC respondents were able to avoid financial consequences as a result of identity theft, compared to 59 percent of all respondents. When compared to the general population, BIPOC reported approximately $200 more in financial losses.
“47 percent sounds great, well, that’s not too bad — it’s like 50-50 whether you’re losing money, right? However, this compares to 59 percent of all respondents, according to David Ruiz, an online privacy advocate at Malwarebytes. “That implies everyone else has a better chance of not being financially impacted, that everyone else has a better chance of escaping relatively unscathed.”
According to Ruiz, the report’s findings on cyberfraud should be viewed in the context of how communities experience the Internet in unequal ways. According to the Pew Research Center, significantly more women, Black and Hispanic Americans, and Black and Hispanic Americans have reported online harassment than white men.
“This study, at least for me, demonstrated that the internet is not an equal experience for everyone,” Ruiz added. “And people are saying it loud and clear. There are some groups that feel less private, and others that feel less safe.”
The report, which examines the demographics of cyberfraud, interviewed 5,000 people in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. While the three countries have extremely varied privacy laws, according to Ruiz, there isn’t a significant difference when looking at data by country.
According to Ruiz, the Malwarebytes study also highlights the connection between online and offline problems. Women were twice as likely as males to blame credit card fraud on a physical attack or theft. Similarly, Ruiz provided an example of how online attacks, such as doxing, can escalate to physical assaults on a person.
Malwarebytes numbers are generally consistent with data obtained by the United States government in recent years. According to a 2016 Federal Trade Commission research submitted to Congress, African American and Latino consumers were more likely to become victims of fraud than non-Hispanic whites. The research was conducted as part of the agency’s outreach program to assist minimize fraud-related crime against minority groups. Prior to 2016, the agency did not routinely gather demographic information on fraud victims. The survey, however, relied on a very small sample size of 3,700 people.
Self-selection has also limited federal statistics. In comparison to their level of victimization, largely Black and heavily Hispanic groups file considerably fewer complaints with the FTC than non-minority communities, FTC economist Devesh Raval stated in the journal Marketing Science.
Nonprofits that assist victims of cyberfrauds have witnessed an increase in the number of minority victims.
The number of minority victims has increased, according to non-profits that aid victims of cyberfraud.
While the Identity Theft Resource Center only collects demographic data from identity crime victims in the United States who seek assistance, the organization still sees “a higher percentage of victims who self-identify as African American compared to the overall U.S. population,” according to James Lee, chief operating officer.