IBM, Me, And Identity theft
How consumers respond to identity theft crime

What’s The Big Deal About Identity Theft?

In September 2003, The U.S. Federal Trade Commission issued the results of its identity theft study which estimated that 27.3 million people were identity theft and fraud victims with:

“... [2002] identity theft losses to businesses and financial institutions totaled nearly $48 billion and consumer victims reported $5 billion in out-of-pocket expenses.”

The FTC found about the frequency of identity theft:

"1.5% of survey participants: their personal information had been misused to open new credit accounts, take out new loans, or engage in other types of fraud, such as misuse of the victim’s name and identifying information when someone is charged with a crime, when renting an apartment, or when obtaining medical care."

The FTC calls this “New Accounts & Other Frauds’ ID Theft. Projected to the entire population, this result suggests that almost 3.25 million Americans were victims during the past year. Also:

"2.4% of survey participants: the misuse of one or more of their existing credit cards or credit card account numbers, during the past year."

The FTC calls this “Misuse of Existing Credit Cards or Card Numbers.”

And:

"0.7% of survey participants: the misuse of one or more of their existing non-credit card accounts during the past year. Examples: checking account, savings accounts, or telephone accounts."

The FTC calls this “Misuse of Existing Non-Credit Card Accounts or Account Numbers."

For all types of identity theft combined, 4.6% of survey participants were identity theft victims during the past year. The FTC estimates that almost 10 million Americans were identity theft victims. The FTC found that the rates were higher when a longer time period was considered:

"4.7 percent of survey participants reported that they had discovered that they were victims of “New Accounts & Other Frauds” ID Theft during the previous 5 years. 6% said that they had discovered that they were victims of the “Misuse of Existing Credit Cards or Card Numbers,” while 2% indicated that they were victims of the “Misuse of Existing Non-Credit Card Accounts or Account Numbers.” In total, 12.7% of survey participants reported that they had discovered the misuse of their personal information within the last 5 years.”

The cost of the theft to consumers varies by the specific type of identity theft

"On average, victims of “New Accounts & Other Frauds” ID Theft indicated that the person or persons who misused the victim’s personal information had obtained money or goods and services valued at $10,200 using the victim’s information."

"Combine results from “Misuse of Existing Credit Cards and Credit Card Accounts Only” ID theft, “Misuse of Other Existing Accounts” ID theft, and “New Accounts & Other Frauds,” and the cost of “this crime approaches $50 billion per year, with the average loss from the misuse of a victim’s personal information being $4,800.”

“Looking at all forms of ID Theft, victims estimated that they had spent $500 on average to deal with their ID Theft experience. Victims of the “New Accounts and Other Frauds” type of ID Theft estimated that they had spent almost $1,200 on average.”

“Victims of ID Theft also spend a considerable amount of their own time resolving the various problems that occurred because of the misuse of their personal information. On average, victims reported that they spent 30 hours resolving their problems. On average, victims of the “New Accounts and Other Frauds” form of ID Theft spent 60 hours resolving their problems.”

15% of ID Theft victims said that thieves misused their personal information in non-financial ways. Examples: presented the victim’s name and identifying information during a traffic stop; during an arrest or charged with a crime.

The FTC has distributed 1.2 million copies of the booklet “Identity Theft: When Bad Things Happen to Your Good Name” in English or Spanish between February 2000 and September 2003. Since then, newer materials available at the FTC's Identity Theft web site.

Next entry: how consumers respond to identity theft crime.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.