Justice Department Takes Closer Look at Identity Theft
WASHINGTON - A recent survey released by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics finds that 3.6 million U.S. households learned they had been the victims of at least one type of identity theft. This marks the first time the BJS National Crime Victimization Survey has included questions about identity theft. Of those surveyed over a six-month period, 48% had experienced an unauthorized use of credit cards; 25% had other accounts, such as banking accounts, used without permission; 15% experienced the misuse of personal information and 12% experienced multiple types of theft at the same time. Households that made the most likely targets included those with an annual income of $75,000 or more, those headed by persons age 18-24, or those in an urban or suburban area. In addition, the estimated loss reported by the victims totaled $3.2 billion with an average loss of $1,290. Some 30% of households hit by identity theft discovered it by noticing that money was missing or that unfamiliar charges were listed on an account.