Identity theft is currently the fastest growing crime in America. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that 27 million Americans were victims of some kind of identity theft in the past five years. Every 79 seconds, a thief steals someone's identity, opens accounts in the victim's name and goes on a buying spree. One of every 23 consumers was the victim of identity theft last year. Victims spend between 30 and 60 hours of their time as well as approximately $1000 of their money clearing up the problem, after they've been victimized. During a 12 month period ending the summer of 2003, nearly 10 million Americans were victims of Identity Theft resulting in a total cost of approximately 5 billion dollars. The number of victims and their total losses are probably much higher. The major reason for this is that law enforcement agencies sometimes classify identity theft differently - it can involve credit card fraud, check fraud, Internet fraud, mail theft, or other crimes. Identity theft causes billions of dollars in losses for financial institutions and businesses as well. We all pay the price.
In 2004, approximately 9.3 million people were the victim of identity theft. The most common identity theft complaint is credit card fraud; followed by phone or utility fraud; bank fraud; employment related fraud; government document or benefit fraud; and loan fraud.