Identity theft is one of the fastest growing consumer scams in America.
Top 20 Identity Theft Sites per capita for 2010
- New Mexico
- New York
- New Jersey
Source: FTC Annual Fraud and Identity Theft Report
It's difficult to know exactly how many victims exist, but the numbers are staggering.
- Identity theft topped the FTC's list of consumer complaints again in 2010, accounting for 19 percent of the 6.1 million complaints.
The problem is serious in Washington, where residents filed 6,646 complaints with the Federal Trade Commission in 2009. The good news is that Washington has consistently slipped down the ranks to 17th in the nation for identity theft complaints per capita last year. We placed 15th among the states in 2009, 14th in 2008, 13th in 2007, 9th in 2006 and 7th in 2005.
- The Javelin study indicates that identity theft is now a $37 billion crime, down from $56 billion in 2009. But the mean consumer out-of-pocket cost due to identity fraud increased 63 percent from $387 in 2009 to $631 per incident in 2010. Most victims don't experience any out-of-pocket costs to resolve identity fraud, due to the zero-liability fraud protection offered by most banks and credit card companies.
The Federal Trade Commission published a survey
in 2007 showing that 8.3 million American adults, or 3.7 percent of us, were victims of identity theft in 2005. Most of those cases involved misuse of existing credit card or other accounts, while 1.8 million found that new accounts were opened or other frauds were committed using their personal identifying information.
An Arizona business called Identity Theft 911 issued a report
in December 2007 that suggests 1 in 5 Washington residents became an ID theft victim in the previous five years. The company estimates 254,095 Washington residents became victims of identity theft in 2006.