BIIA member TransUnion offers sound advice in dealing with identity theft. Knowing identity theft facts is critical. Identity thieves are less likely to prey on a well-informed population. So the more you learn about identity theft facts, the less vulnerable you are. Become familiar with identity theft facts and you’ll quickly see identity theft for the serious problem that it is.
Important identity theft facts
- Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. We at BIIA venture to say that this is also the case in other countries.
- The number of identity theft incidents has reached 9.9 million a year, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
- Every minute about 19 people fall victim to identity theft.
- It takes the average victim an estimated $500 and 30 hours to resolve each identity theft crime.
- Studies have shown that it’s becoming more common for the ones stealing your identity to be those closest to you. One study found 32% of identity theft victims discovered a family member or relative was responsible for stealing their identity. That same study found 18% were victimized by a friend, neighbor or in-home employee.
- Most cases of identity theft can be resolved if they are caught early.
- Financial institutions – like banks and creditors – usually only hold the victim responsible for the first $50 of fraudulent charges.
- Only 28% of identity theft cases involve credit or financial fraud. Phone, utility, bank and employment fraud make up another 50% of cases.
You may have known some of these identity theft facts already. Others, you may not have known. But of all the identity theft facts there are, these two you should never forget: identity theft is preventable and identity theft is fixable.
Preventing identity theft
Knowing identity theft facts, it’s critical that you protect your personal information. Using a paper shredder can be a powerful tool for safeguarding against personal information and pre-approved credit offers ending up in the wrong people’s hands.
Dealing with identity theft
If you notice signs of identity theft, the first step is to get all the facts about the damages. Then, contact any creditors or financial institutions immediately. If the theft is serious, contact the police and file a report. Signing up for a credit monitoring service that informs you of changes to your credit report is a great way to become aware of fraudulent charges and of ensuring the fraud does not escalate.