Statistics and Figures


Identity theft has increased in last few years and is still predicted to increase in future. There are several studies, surveys and researches that have been done on the matter to get status of crime time to time. Identity theft can be well seen in mirror of stats.

To start off; the Better Business Bureau in addition with Javelin Strategy and Research released its Identity Theft survey as an update to the Federal Trade Commissions 2003 Identity Theft Survey Report on 26th Jan, 2006. According to this survey within the last twelve months, 9.3 million Americans were the victims of identity theft; the total U.S. annual identity fraud cost remains essentially unchanged since 2003, at $52.6 Billion also an increase of 2.3% from the 2003 inflation-adjusted level of $51.4 Billion; most thieves still obtain personal information through traditional rather than electronic channels - In the cases where the method was known, 68.2% of information was obtained off-line versus only 11.6% obtained online; conventional methods such as through lost or stolen wallets, misappropriation by family and friends, and theft of paper mail are among the most common ways thieves gain access to information.

Statistics and Figures

This Bureau report recommends cancel your paper bills and statements wherever possible and instead check your statements and pay bills online. Monitor your account balances and activity electronically (at least once per week). If you do not have access to online accounts, review paper bank and credit card statements monthly and monitor your billing cycles for missing bills or statements. Use email based account “alerts” to monitor transfers, payments, low balances and withdrawals and review your credit report (now available for free annual review).

The Identity Theft Resource Center released its survey of the impact of identity theft on 173 known victims on 23rd September, 2003. This surveys findings tell us that nearly 85% of all victims find out about their identity theft case in a negative manner. Only 15% of victims find out due to a proactive action taken by a business; the average time spent by victims is about 600 hours, an increase of more than 300% over previous studies; while victims are finding out about their cases earlier, it is taking far longer now than before to eliminate negative information from credit reports; a large majority of respondents indicates the opening of a credit card (73%) or takeover of a card account (27%) to be among crimes committed; the emotional impact of identity theft has been found to parallel that of victims of violent crime; the responsiveness toward victims by the various entities with which they must interact continues to be lacking in sensitivity in most cases and has not improved.

Also, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released a study on account-takeover including information about fraudulent automated clearing house (ACH) payments on 14th December, 2003. This surveys key stat features tell us that while precise statistics on the prevalence of account hijacking are difficult to obtain, recent studies indicate that unauthorized access to checking accounts is the fastest growing form of identity theft; another recent study has estimated that almost 2 million U.S. adult Internet users experienced this fraud during the 12 months ending April 2004. Of those, 70 percent do their banking or pay their bills online and over half believed they received a spam e-mail; consumers are attributing risk to their use of the Internet to conduct financial transactions, and many experts believe that electronic fraud, especially account hijacking, will have the effect of slowing the growth of online banking and commerce; up to 5 percent of the recipients of spoofed e-mails respond to them; an estimated 19 percent of “those attacked” have clicked on the link in a spam e-mail. Most, if not all, large financial institutions and electronic bill-paying services (such as Pay Pal) have been hit with spamming attacks. Because many spam attacks originate overseas and because the average life span of a spam Web site is 2.25 days, the sites are hard to shut down.

Also, some of the key stats related to Identity theft are 3.4 million Americans were victims of identity theft since 1990. Over 13 million Americans have become victims of identity theft since January 2001. Consumer out-of-pocket expenses have totaled $1.5 billion annually since January 2001. 34% say someone obtained their credit card information, forged a credit card in their name, and used it to make purchases. 12% say someone stole or obtained improperly a paper or computer record with their personal information on it and used that to forge their identity. 11% say someone stole their wallet or purse and used their identity. 10% say someone opened charge accounts in stores in their name and made purchases as them. 7% say someone opened a bank account in their name or forged checks and obtained money from their account. 7% say someone got to their mail or mailbox and used information there to steal their identity. 5% say they lost their wallet or purse and someone used their identity. 4% say someone went to a public record and used information there to steal their identity. 3% say someone created false IDs and posed as them to get government benefits or payments. 16% say it was a friend, relative or co-worker who stole their identity. The seven million victims the survey identified in 2002 represent an 81% rise over victims in 2001. Identity theft incidents reported so far in 2003 suggest a major rise over 2002. The victims’ level and upward trend parallel findings of a Gartner survey released last week.