• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 5s

Identity theft rises, consumers rage

By ALEXANDER TROWBRIDGE / CBS NEWS 2:27 PM July 1, 2014

The big data breaches almost seem routine. The count is 368 breaches so far this year, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, a cybercrime research and education group. That’s up nearly 19 percent from the same period last year. The number of personal records exposed in 2014 thus far? Over 10 million.

Identity theft — when someone uses such personal data to do anything from fraudulently opening a new bank account to fooling the police — is a crime on the rise in prominence, and in recent years, prevalence.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics, the government agency crunching numbers for the Justice Department, found that 16.6 million American adults experienced identity theft in 2012. That same year, the agency recorded just 6.8 million total non-fatal violent crimes.

According to the same report, released in December 2013, over 34.2 million adults, or 14 percent of Americans 16 or older, had experienced some form of identity theft in the past.

The BJS hasn’t yet released a comparable identity theft report for 2013, and in previous reports the agency measured victimization by household rather than individual. The private company Javelin Strategy & Research uses a different methodology than the government bureau and has generated different numbers. But its reports on identity fraud, spanning nearly a decade, offer a glimpse into the growth of the crime over time.

According to Javelin, 11.2 million Americans reported being victims of identity fraud in 2005. The problem peaked, by the company’s count, in 2009 at 13.9 million, then dropped to 10.2 million in 2010. That number has climbed steadily since, to 13.1 million victims – or one every two seconds – in 2013, according to the company’s numbers.

It’s driving consumers crazy. Identity theft leads the Federal Trade Commission’s list of top consumer complaints, accounting for 14 percent of all complaints recorded by the government body in 2013. According to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, Florida topped the list of per capita identity theft complaints that year.

It can be a huge headache. The BJS’ 2012 report found that it takes identity theft victims an average of nine hours to clear up issues related to the crime. While over half of identity victims in 2012 who were able to resolve the problem did so in a day or less, the BJS found that 29 percent of victims who had personal information used for fraudulent purposes spent a month or more resolving the problems. Only 14 percent of victims suffered out-of-pocket financial losses, but when you factor in indirect losses — legal fees, bounced checks, etc. — that number jumps to a whopping 68 percent. And for those who did suffer a direct and indirect loss — the average cost was $1,769.

It isn’t fun. About 36 percent of identity theft victims in 2012 reported moderate or severe emotional distress as a result of the incident.

And people don’t know who’s hitting them. The BJS report found that 9 out of 10 didn’t know anything about the offender’s identity.

Here’s one silver lining: according to Javelin’s reports, the amount stolen has actually decreased in recent years. From just under $20 billion in 2010, to $18 billion last year.

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Latest Stories

  • News

    High workload, staffing issues had impact at Wasilla VA clinic

    by Associated Press on Jul 07, 13:16

    An inspector general’s review found that high workloads and inadequate staffing had a negative impact on access to care at the Department of Veterans Affairs clinic in Wasilla. It found that eight of 40 patients assigned to the clinic who died between July 2013 and July 2014 received poor access to care. The review, requested […]

  • DayBreak

    Travel Tuesday: Renting an RV for summer family fun

    by Daybreak Staff on Jul 07, 13:09

    If you plan to take a road trip with the kids this summer, Daybreak family fun expert Erin Kirkland of AKontheGo.com says you may want to consider trading in the car and hotel rooms for a rental RV. “What people need to remember, if they rent an RV they’re bundling in meals, they’re bundling in lodging and bundling […]

  • News

    Today is 57th anniversary of Alaska Statehood Act signing

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 07, 12:35

      Fifty-seven years ago today, Alaska took a major step to becoming the 49th state in the Union. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Act on July 7, 1958. The act allowed Alaska to become the 49th state on Jan. 3, 1959. Above is a video from the Alaska Film Archives at the University […]

  • News

    UPDATE: Chopper sent to search for Ketchikan plane crash reported poor visibility

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 07, 12:01

    Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board have released a preliminary report regarding the June 25 crash near Ketchikan that killed all nine people on board. Released Tuesday, the preliminary report draws no conclusions about the cause of the fatal crash — but indicates that weather may have played a factor. After the deHavilland DHC-3 – a sightseeing […]

  • Weather

    Daybreak Weather – July 7

    by KTVA Weather on Jul 07, 10:00

    Kenai and Prince William Sound Cloudy skies with scattered rain and breezy conditions. Highs in the upper 50s to lower 60s. Southeast Alaska Cloudy skies with scattered rain showers and breezy conditions. Highs in the 60s and 70s. Interior/North Slope Mostly sunny for the north slope with highs in the upper 50s to lower 60s. […]

  • News

    Motorcyclist dies following crash inside Portage Highway tunnel

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 07, 9:19

    A motorcyclist is dead following a crash Monday evening inside the small tunnel at mile 5.5 of the Portage Highway, according to Alaska State Troopers. Troopers were notified of the crash involving a “lone motorcycle rider” at 5:11 p.m. Monday evening near the Begich-Boggs visitor center, according to AST spokesperson Beth Ipsen. Investigators determined that the […]

  • News

    Partial ice cave collapse in Washington turns deadly

    by CBS/AP on Jul 07, 7:14

    A partial ice cave collapse in northwest Washington state killed one person and injured four others Monday evening, a Snohomish County sheriff’s spokeswoman said. Shari Ireton said late Monday night that the person who was killed remained buried under the debris at the popular Big Four Ice Caves east of Granite Falls. All victims were […]

  • News

    Chester Creek Greenbelt fire came close to Anchorage homes

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 06, 23:06

    Some people who live in the Rogers Park neighborhood may not know how lucky they are. Authorities say a fire started by homeless campers on Friday near Chester Creek Greenbelt Park could have easily spread to homes. Joanne Jenson, who lives in the area, was visiting Valdez when she heard her neighborhood was being evacuated. […]