17.6 Million U.S. Residents Fell Victim to Identity Theft in 2014, Says DOJ

Around 7 percent of U.S. residents have fallen victim to identity theft during 2014, while 86 percent of victims experienced the fraudulent use of existing credit card or bank account information, according to a study published by the U.S. Department of Justice.

While the number of elderly victims that fell for identity theft to 2.6 million in 2014, as opposed to 2.1 million in 2012, 14 percent experienced out-of-pocket loss of $1 or more. 32 percent of those that experienced multiple types of identity theft, have reported that they’ve spent more than a month in resolving these problems.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, “Victims of Identity Theft, 2014”

Those that reported direct financial loss caused by identity theft, lost an average of $7,761 or a median of $2,000 per victim. However, victims that suffered an indirect loss of at least $1, have reported an average indirect loss of $261 with a median of $10.

While the amount of financial loss differed from one type of identity theft to another, 66 percent were credit card fraud victims, 69 percent were bank fraud victims, 41 percent were new account fraud victims, and 35 percent were personal information fraud victims.

The findings concluded that 36 percent of victims have experienced moderate or severe moderate distress after experiencing the incidents, while 86 percent stated that the most recent incident involved unauthorized use of an existing account.

When analyzing the number of victims that reported identity theft to police, in 2014 only 8 percent filed a police report. The 92 percent that did not report the incident to the police, claimed to have handled the problem by other means (58 percent), 26 percent believed the incident was not significant enough to be reported, while 21 percent did not know how to report the incident.

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