What you should know about identity theft
Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States according to the Secret Service and the Federal Trade Commission. And no one is immune. We provide numerous resources to detect and combat ID theft, and rebuild should your find yourself a victim. An important part of being aware and active in prevention is knowing the shocking statistics about the crime:
- Every 79 seconds, a thief steals someone's identity and opens one or more accounts in the victim's name.
- Recovery efforts require victims to dedicate upwards of 500 hours on average, often over a period of years. Three years ago the average was 175 hours of time. This represents $13,500 in lost potential or realized income to the average victim, making identity theft one of the most devastating and expensive crimes.
- Identity theft increased 87% between 2001 and 2002 and increased 79% between 2002 and 2003.
- 85 percent of all identity theft victims find out about the crime only when they are denied credit or employment, contacted by the police, or have to deal with collection agencies, credit cards, and bills. The vast majority learn months after the crime has occurred.
- The average arrest rate for identity thieves is less than 5% of all reported cases, and the conviction rate is even lower. The circumstances are often too complicated to research and assemble.
- Identity theft can and does occur everywhere in America, but these states experience the highest number of occurrences: