Identity Theft Statistics
Depending on who you ask, identity theft is either growing at an apocalyptic rate, or has slowed down dramatically thanks to education and better prevention technologies. The truth lies somewhere in between.
Identity theft statistics show that victimization has dropped off, but millions of people have already been affected. Education and prevention technologies may play a part in this, but the security of millions and millions of people has been compromised by corporate and governmental data breeches – most because of carelessness or outdated technology rather than wily hackers or hucksters.
Here are some recent identity theft statistics, with the sources noted. And remember: don’t shoot the messenger.
• There were 15 million victims of identity theft in the United States from August 2005 to August 2006.
• There were 8.3 million victim in 2005.
• In 2007, 31 percent of identity theft victims knew the identity of the perpetrator. Of those:
- 53 percent were someone known by the victim (family, friend, employee)
- 45 percent were someone unknown by the victim (a store clerk, a pickpocket, etc.)
- 2 percent were someone using the internet
(Source: 2007 Consumer Identity Fraud Survey Report, by Javelin Strategy and Research)
• Total one year fraud amount decreased from $55.7 billion in 2006 to $49.3 billion in 2007.
• In a 2006 survey of almost 500 companies, 81 percent of companies surveyed reported having lost at least one laptop containing sensitive information with the previous year.
• Between January, 2005 and January 2008, more than 217,555,182 records containing Social Security numbers, names, account numbers, addresses, phone numbers and driver’s license numbers were compromised in corporate or governmental data breaches. The number is actually much more than that because in many instances, the agency responsible for the data didn’t know how many records were lost or stolen.
• The largest record loss to date took place in an 18-month period between 2005 and 2006, when 45.7 million records were hacked from TJK (TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Bob’s Stores).
• The most common source of information to identity thieves is your mailbox.
The take away message from all of these frightening identity theft statistics is this: Identity thieves have many, many ways of mining for information, and they do it everyday. You no longer have total control over your personal information.
The following websites contain tips to help keep your information more secure, and remedies if your identity is stolen.
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