Identity theft is a serious crime that we all need to be aware of. In this article we look at a number of statistics representing this crime in order to give you a better idea of this crime and how important it is to protect yourself against it.
Identity theft was first mentioned in literature in the 1990’s, studies showed that between 2001 and 2002 there was an 11-20% increase in this crime, while between 2002 and 2003 this figure had increased to 80%.
The Javelin/Better Business Bureau survey from January 2006 showed that there was a decrease in identity theft between 2003 and 2006 though. In 2003 the adult victims of identity theft living in the United States was 10.1 million in 2003, 9.3 million in 2005 and 8.9 million in 2006.
Identity theft statistics from the Javelin report however do show an increase in the fraud amount. In 2003 the one year fraud amount was $53.2 billion, $54.4 billion in 2005 and $56.6 billion in 2006.
Identity theft statistics show that in Waco, Texas, alone there was a 700% increase in identity theft cases between 2004 and 2005.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated that in a six month period in 2004, a total of 3.6 million households were affected by identity theft.
Identity theft can also have severe consequences for businesses. Identity theft statistics show that it may cost a company up to $90,000 or more when just one laptop is stolen. These fees include fines, credit monitoring, public relations damage control and class action litigation.
45% of all identity theft cases are caused by stolen laptops. The second most frequent problem was data leaks from records lost by third part business partners or outsourcing companies. This second component makes up about 29% of all the cases.
The Identity Theft Resource Center says that, “Studies on the total cost of identity theft vary. One study said that identity theft cost U.S. Businesses and consumers $56.6 billion in 2005.”
A survey done by the Identity Theft Resource centre in the spring of 2006 showed some frightening results with regards to phishing. Out of 309 people surveyed, 165 people said they did not know what phishing was, while only 77 people answered correctly. For more info see http://www.preventidentitythefthelp.com/Identity_Theft_Protection on identity theft protection.
The Javelin report from 2005 however indicated that offline/traditional methods of identity theft were still more popular than online methods. The identity theft statistics they gave were 68.2% offline and 11.6 online.
In conclusion, although the number of adult victims of identity theft has decreased since 2003, the amounts involved have increased, and identity theft remains a very serious crime. Most criminals involved in identity theft are still using offline methods but we should also be cautious of online methods such as phishing. The statistics themselves may vary depending on different reports but the fact remains the same, these identity theft statistics are a reason to inform yourself about identity theft and take better precautions to protect yourself.