A new report from Javelin Research is getting attention for its extraordinary claim that data breaches are responsible for only a tiny minority of identity theft cases, compared to lost wallets and other low-tech exposures. But a closer look at Javelin's numbers casts serious doubt on the company's conclusions.
The stat that’s getting the most buzz in Javelin's 2009 Identity Fraud Survey Report (.pdf) comes from identity theft victims' responses to this survey question: "How was your information obtained?" Only 11 percent of the respondents said it was lost in an online transaction, and an equal number said it was stolen in a data breach. Some 43 percent blamed a lost or stolen wallet. Here's Javelin's chart.
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By Kevin Poulsen