Identity Theft Statistics

Identity theft (or ID theft) is the process whereby a criminal steals your name, contact information and other personal information to commit fraud or other crimes – normally resulting in their own financial gain. ID theft has become an increasing epidemic in the United States and elsewhere, as the growth of the Internet has provided new opportunities to “cash in” by stealing the identities of others.

Some eye-opening facts about identity theft - the fastest-growing crime in the nation:

  • Over 9 million victims a year for two years running
    (Better Business Bureau and Javelin Strategy & Research, January 2005)
  • Over 30 million victims in past five years
    (Federal Trade Commission, 2003 and Better Business Bureau, 2005)
  • Top consumer complaint to FTC five years in a row
    (Federal Trade Commission, National and State Trends in Fraud and Identity Theft, February 1, 2005)

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More Identity Theft information you might find alarming:

In 2003, approximately 7 million people became victims of identity theft in the prior 12 months. That’s 19,178 per day, 799 per hour, and 13.3 per minute.

(July 2003 - Gartner Research and Harris Interactive -IDTheftCenter.org)

Almost 10 million U.S. consumers said they were victims of identity theft during the last year, according to a Federal Trade Commission study released in September, 2003. (ftc.gov)

Victims now spend an average of 600 hours recovering from this crime, often over a period of years. Three years ago the average was 175 hours of time, representing an increase of about 347%. (IDTheftCenter.org)

Based on 600 hours times the indicated victim wages, this equals nearly $16,000 in lost potential or realized income. (IDTheftCenter.org)

Every 79 seconds, a thief steals someone's identity, opens accounts in the victim's name, and goes on a buying spree. (CBSnews.com, 1/25/2001)

More than 50% of identity theft victims suffered credit card and other account fraud. New account fraud, where an ID thief opens up new accounts in your name, and other frauds were estimated to have victimized 3.23 million people. (about.com)

Approximately 85% of victims discovered the crime due to an adverse situation - denied credit or employment, notification by police or collection agencies, receipt of credit cards or bills never ordered, etc. Only 15% found out through a positive action taken by a business group that verified a submitted application or a reported change of address. (IDTheftCenter.org)

28% of identity theft victims whose theft experience involved the misuse of an existing credit card said that their credit cards had either been lost or stolen.(about.com)

Curious to learn how ID Theft actually happens?

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