Identity Theft Statistics The Increasing Crime Rate
Identity theft statistics present a sobering picture of a growing crime problem. According to some statistics, approximately 10 million Americans become the victim of identity theft each year. (Some estimate the number to be 15 million.)
Yes, unfortunately, identity theft seems to be on the rise rather than on the decline. Your risk in being a victim of this crime is now one in twenty.
Between 38 and 48 percent of victims discover the fraud within the first three months, while 9-18 percent don’t discover the problem for four years or more.
The Financial Damages
During the lapse between the crime and the discovery, huge amounts of damage can be done to your bank account, credit report, reputation, and more.
The same identity theft statistics also estimate the time required to correct the problem to be between 3 and 5,840 hours and approximate the cost to $50 billion.
The government estimates that the average victim of identity theft will spend 600 hours and $1200 correcting the issues associated with the theft.
The Emotional Effects
If the thief "only" stole your card number and made a few purchases, it will take less time to repair the damage than if he created a twin with your identity and has opened accounts and done things in your name with your social security number.
Other identity theft statistics include the emotional distress inflicted by victimization--the overwhelming majority of victims (roughly 85%) feel a sense of anger, while nearly half (45%) experience denial.
It is interesting to note that there is actually some common ground in domestic abuse cases and identity theft--these statistics also indicate that 43% of victims know who the perpetrator of the crime is.
How to Prevent Identity Theft
The best way to protect yourself from becoming a part of these disturbing statistics is to practice prevention.
- Secure your computer with anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Use an internet filter.
- Don’t share your personal computer with individuals outside your immediate family.
- Keep all important documents filed in a cabinet that locks. Shred all documents that are no longer needed.
- Never leave your usernames and passwords where others can find (and use) them.
- Consider using protective services such as identity theft insurance and credit monitoring.
Remember, the best way to beat the odds is to be proactive!
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