Identity Theft in America
We canít find all identity theft attackers, and sometimes these criminals can slip through the cracks. The statistics on identity theft in America can show the real story of identity theft, and it is not a pretty one.
The costs of identity theft are high, and not to be taken lightly. There are many laws in America that try to prevent identity theft. There are also government branches like the Federal Trade Commission that are dedicated to stopping identity theft. But unfortunately we canít find all identity theft attackers, and sometimes these criminals can slip through the cracks. The statistics on identity theft in America can show the real story of identity theft, and it is not a pretty one.
One in ten Americans will have their identity stolen every year, amounting to a total of approximately ten million Americans each year. According to official reports from 2008, only as much as forty eight percent of victims discover that their identity has been stolen within three months. As much as another eighteen percent of victims only discover the infractions within ten years. This is why it is essential to order a free credit report every year, to track your credit and make sure there are no charges that donít belong to you.
One of the most shocking statistics about identity theft is that it has taken some consumers over five thousand hours of time to fix the damage that was done by credit card theft. That is the same amount of time it takes to earn a bachelorís degree, or to work a full time job for two years! Most people who are affected by identity theft have to call several different groups in order to get their credit worked out. And because of the rising costs and numbers of identity thefts many consumers now carry identity theft insurance. As much as thirty percent of American consumers carry identity theft protection at any given time.
The costs to consumers can be disastrous as well. You could end up paying for someone elseís bar tab, shopping spree, or vacation! According to official reports the annual amount of identity theft loss for individual Americans is around thirty one billion dollars. Businesses lose over two hundred billion dollars a year because of identity theft. The average consumer loses around thirteen hundred dollars out of pocket when trying to repair damage caused by identity theft.
Another surprising fact to consider is that many people who have been affected by identity theft knew the thief before they were stolen from. This amounts to around forty percent of cases. In fact in cases of child identity theft, the majority of children whose identity is stolen are victimized by their own parents!
So what about the ways that criminals manage to steal identities? This is perhaps the most important information about identity theft because it can be used to help protect consumers in the future. The majority of identity theft cases happen because of a lost or stolen wallet, or lost and stolen physical paperwork containing identity sensitive information. Always know where your social security card and your wallet are. Unless you need to take your social security card with you for a specific reason then always leave your card at home preferably in a lock box. Even if you do take your card with you if you happen to need it that day, never leave the card in your wallet. Thieves are not going to take the time to search your pant pocket for your social security card, but they might slip your wallet out or snatch your purse.
Other victims are stolen from by having their debit or credit card number stolen, such as by entering it into an unsafe website online or by having it scanned by people who set up equipment at ATMs. However, online credit card theft has only accounted for eleven percent of theft each year. Most victims have their social security number stolen, and many victims also have their name taken. Identity theft is not something to be played with. It is a very serious crime that can cause a lot of problems for a lot of people, and everyday we are developing more and more measures to protect consumers from fraud.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica Harmon is a staff writer at Scott McCorkle's Credit Capitol. For more information about an auto loan in your future, please visit our website!