Sunday, December 6, 2009

Identity Theft Speaker: Identity Theft Protection


- Nearly 85% of all victims find out about their identity theft case in a negative manner. Only 15% of victims find out due to a proactive action taken by a business.

· The average time spent by victims is about 600 hours, an increase of more than 300% over previous studies.

· While victims are finding out about their cases earlier, it is taking far longer now than before to eliminate negative information from credit reports.

· A large majority of respondents indicates the opening of a credit card (73%) or takeover of a card account (27%) to be among crimes committed.

· The emotional impact of identity theft has been found to parallel that of victims of violent crime.

· The responsiveness toward victims by the various entities with which they must interact continues to be lacking in sensitivity in most cases and has not improved since studies released in 2000 (Nowhere to Turn).

On December 14, 2004, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released a study on phishing and account-takeover including information about fraudulent automated clearing house (ACH) payments.

Key FDIC findings include:

· While precise statistics on the prevalence of account hijacking are difficult to obtain, recent studies indicate that unauthorized access to checking accounts is the fastest growing form of identity theft.

· Another recent study has estimated that almost 2 million U.S. adult Internet users experienced this fraud during the 12 months ending April 2004. Of those, 70 percent do their banking or pay their bills online and over half believed they received a phishing e-mail.

· Consumers are attributing risk to their use of the Internet to conduct financial transactions, and many experts believe that electronic fraud, especially account hijacking, will have the effect of slowing the growth of online banking and commerce.

· Up to 5 percent of the recipients of spoofed e-mails respond to them.

· An estimated 19 percent of “those attacked” have clicked on the link in a phishing e-mail. Most, if not all, large financial institutions and electronic bill-paying services (such as PayPal) have been hit with phishing attacks.

· Because many phishing attacks originate overseas and because the average life span of a phishing Web site is 2.25 days, the sites are hard to shut down.

Federal Trade Commission Survey - September 2003
On September 3, 2003, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a survey on identity theft. The survey was conducted in March and April of 2003 with a random sample of over 4,000 households. To read the survey, go to

How Many Consumers Are Victims of Identity Theft?
· 27.3 million Americans have been victims of identity theft in the last five years, including 9.91 million people or 4.6% of the population in the last year alone.

· In the past 12 months, 3.23 million consumers or 1.5% of the population discovered that new accounts had been opened, and other frauds such as renting an apartment or home, obtaining medical care or employment, had been committed in their name. 6.6 million experienced their existing accounts compromised by an identity theft. A total of almost 10 million individuals were victims of identity theft.

· 52% of all ID theft victims, approximately 5 million people in the last year, discovered that they were victims of identity theft by monitoring their accounts.
Misuse of Personal Information

· On average, 49% of victims did not know how their information was obtained.

· Another 26% - approximately 2.5 million people - reported that they were alerted to suspicious account activity by companies such as credit card issuers or banks.

· 8% reported that they first learned when they applied for credit and were turned down.

· 15% of all victims - almost 1.5 million people in the last year - reported that their personal information was misused in nonfinancial ways, to obtain government documents, for example, or on tax forms.

· 67% of identity theft victims - more than 6.5 million victims in the last year - report that existing credit card accounts were misused.

· 19% reported that checking or savings accounts were misused.

· Nearly one-quarter of all victims - roughly 2.5 million people in the last year - said their information was lost or stolen, including lost or stolen credit cards, checkbooks or social security cards.

· Stolen mail was the source of information for identity thieves in 4 percent of all victims - 400,000 in the last year.

Costs to Businesses and Consumers

· Last year's identity theft losses to businesses and financial institutions totaled $47.6 billion and consumer victims reported $5 billion in out-of-pocket expenses.

· In those cases, the loss to businesses and financial institutions was $10,200 per victim totaling $32.9 billion. Individual victims lost an average of $1,180 for a total of $3.8 billion.

· Where the thieves solely used a victim's established accounts, the loss to businesses was $2,100 per victim totaling $14.0 billion. For all forms of identity theft, the loss to business was $4,800 and the loss to consumers was $500, on average.

Gartner Survey - July 2003

On July 21, 2003, Gartner ( released the results of a survey of 2,445 households regarding identity theft. To read the press release, go to:

The survey found the following:

· Identity theft is up nearly 80 percent from last year.

· 7 million U.S. adults or 3.4 percent of U.S. consumers were identity theft victims in the past 12 months.

· Because this crime is often misclassified, the thieves have just a one in 700 chance of being caught by the federal authorities.

Privacy & American Business Survey - July 2003

A July 30, 2003, Privacy & American Business survey found the following.

How Many Consumers Are Victims of Identity Theft?

· 33.4 million Americans were victims of identity theft since 1990.

· Over 13 million Americans have become victims of identity theft since January 2001.

· Consumer out-of-pocket expenses have totaled $1.5 billion annually since January 2001.

· 34% say someone obtained their credit card information, forged a credit card in their name, and used it to make purchases.

· 12% say someone stole or obtained improperly a paper or computer record with their personal information on it and used that to forge their identity.

· 11% say someone stole their wallet or purse and used their identity.

· 10% say someone opened charge accounts in stores in their name and made purchases as them.

· 7% say someone opened a bank account in their name or forged checks and obtained money from their account.

· 7% say someone got to their mail or mailbox and used information there to steal their identity.

· 5% say they lost their wallet or purse and someone used their identity.

· 4% say someone went to a public record and used information there to steal their identity.

· 3% say someone created false IDs and posed as them to get government benefits or payments.

· 16% say it was a friend, relative or co-worker who stole their identity.

· The seven million victims the survey identified in 2002 represent an 81% rise over victims in 2001.

· Identity theft incidents reported so far in 2003 suggest a major rise over 2002. The victims level and upward trend parallel findings of a Gartner survey released last week.


Paul F Davis - worldwide speaker and former victim of identity theft

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