ID Theft Report

November 19 , 2007 in Industry News

The Identity Theft Resource Center has released a report discussing the impact of identity theft victimization. This report was not based on a census survey, but rather one that invited confirmed victims of identity theft in 2006 to respond to a series of 44 questions.

The report also noted that reported time periods were given at the time victims responded to the survey. The Aftermath 2006 does not distinguish between those who are still being affected from those who are not. Thus, certain measures of victimization represent conservative estimates since the assessment was limited to the ending date of the study.

The following are highlights of The Aftermath 2006 study.

Tables and additional data can be found in the full report on the website:

  • Between 2004 and 2006, there was a significant increase in theft via the Internet, lost and/or stolen wallets, the workplace and home/car robberies. A large percentage of respondents reported being victimized by those who may have had easy access to personal identifying information.

  • Of those respondents who knew something about their imposter, victims reported their imposters committed other crimes, experienced financial difficulties, have addictions and may have committed identity theft against other family members.

  • Nearly two-thirds reported that their personal information had been used to open a new credit line in their name, 29 percent reported their information was used for obtaining new cable/utility, and another 27 percent reported the imposter made charges to the victims’ existing credit card accounts.

  • In 2006, respondents estimated the total value of all charges on fraudulent accounts in their name at $87,303. These figures ranged from $50 to $500,000. This reflects an increase of 78 percent from 2004 to 2006.

  • Respondents spent an average of $1,884 dollars in out-of-pocket expenses for damage done to an existing account only.

  • There were a number of reasons provided by respondents which indicated negative information remained on their reports. Among the answers were: Credit Reporting Agencies kept putting inaccurate information back on the report (43 percent), credit agencies refuse to remove it (39 percent) and fraud alerts were ignored (30 percent). It should be noted that there was a sharp increase in victims (24 percent) who stated that they were unable to get a police report, more than doubling from 2004’s study.

  • In 2006, 33 percent responded that they found out within 3 months of the beginning of the case and 16 percent discovered the case between four to six months.

  • In 2006, the majority of respondents indicated that it took up to 12 months to clear issues of all misinformation (59 percent). A moderate amount of victims (14 percent) stated one to two years. Unfortunately, another 27 percent indicated that it took two or more years to resolve their case. The inference here appears to be that identity theft victims are not resolving cases any faster and may be spending longer periods of time to gain complete clearance.

  • Victims reported a number of problems including difficulties in obtaining credit, clearing accounts, obtaining a job, and adverse effects on insurance or credit rates, etc.

  • Child Identity Theft: Of those respondents who reported child identity theft, 69 percent said the thief was one or both parents or a step parent. Fifty four percent reveal that the crime first began between birth and five years of age.
  • The Aftermath series of studies, as conducted by the ITRC, is the sole source of information of this type. All individuals invited to participate in this study were confirmed victims by the ITRC victim advisory staff.