Some good news and bad news about identity theft.
First the bad: In 2008, the number of identity theft victims surged 22 percent to 9.9 million over the previous year, says a study released this week by Javelin Strategy & Research. That reverses a previous trend in which identity theft had been gradually declining.
But the good news is that the cost to consumers fell 31 percent to $496. Victims and companies are able to detect the fraud more quickly and are limiting how much is stolen, Javelin says.
It comes as no shocker that the report lists the failing economy as a primary reason for the spike in identity theft. (“Overall criminal activity tends to increase when there is a recession,” Javelin says.)
But what might surprise some is that despite all of the news about hacking attacks and phishing, low-tech methods are still favored among thieves. Lost or stolen wallets represented 43% of all incidents, the report said. That compares with 19% of thefts that occurred during a transaction; 13% of thefts committed by friends, family or employees; 11% online theft; 11% data breach; 3% stolen paper mail.
- Women were 26% more likely to be victims of fraud than men in 2008
- 71% of the fraud started occurring less than a week from when the data was first stolen, up from 33% in 2005
- The total annual fraud amount for 2008 is up 7% from last year to $48 billion. That is substantially lower when compared to the 2004 level of $60 billion
Hear me discuss tips for stopping identity theft cold by CLICKING HERE.
Also, check out my other advice on ID theft: