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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Credit unions need to know how costly identity theft can be to their members. A recent Identity Theft Resource Center survey finds that identity theft has both economical and emotional long-term effects for victims. The survey, “Identity Theft: The Aftermath 2003″, finds that victims now spend an average of 600 hours recovering from the crime -marking an increase of over 300%. In addition, that time spent equals nearly $16,000 in lost potential or realized income. Approximately 85% of victims discover the crime from being denied credit or employment, notification by police or collections agency and receipt of credit cards or bills never ordered. Only 15% found out they were victims though proactive steps taken by a business or financial institution that verified a submitted application or reported a change of address. Identity theft victims also spend an average of $1,400 in out-of-pocket expenses- up 185% to “fix” their credit, while businesses lose between $40,000 to $92,000 per name in fraudulent charges. The survey also finds that what frustrates victims the most is the lack of responsiveness from those they turned to for help.

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