• 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

    Following fire, Eagle River residents get home safety tips

    by Eric Ruble on May 28, 18:49

    The recent fire near Eagle River has reminded some Alaskans of the need to be fire ready, or “FireWise.” The Anchorage Fire Department’s FireWise program is helping Alaskans keep their properties safe this summer, when fire conditions are considered dangerous. Watching the plumes of smoke billow from his Eagle River balcony Friday afternoon, Rick Roberts […]

  • Sports

    High school runner brings spotlight to Alaska transgender policy

    by Jake Edmonds on May 28, 13:05

    Haines runner Nattaphon Wangyot qualified for the girls 1-2-3A 100-meter and 200-meter finals Friday afternoon at the high school state track and field meet, but unlike her competitors, she was born with male anatomy. Transgender equality has become a hot topic of discussion around the country, and Alaska is no exception. The Alaska Schools Activities […]

  • News

    Pasco frozen food company lays off 61 in wake of recall

    by Associated Press on May 28, 12:32

    A Pasco frozen food company has laid off 61 more workers amid an ongoing shutdown in connection to listeria contamination in some of its products. The Tri-City Herald reports that CRF Frozen Foods announced the additional layoffs Friday, raising the total number of workers laid off to more than 300. CRF Frozen Foods has recalled […]

  • Lifestyle

    Earliest snowmelt on record in Barrow

    by Emily Russell / KNOM on May 28, 12:21

    Snow in the northernmost town in the nation is melting earlier than ever before on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Observatory in Barrow reported a snowmelt staring on May 13. That’s 10 days earlier than the previous record set in 2002. NOAA has been recording snowmelt from its Barrow Observatory for over 70 years. The […]

  • News

    Health experts: Move Rio Olympics due to Zika outbreak

    by Associated Press on May 28, 10:25

    Health experts on Friday urged the World Health Organization to consider whether the Rio de Janeiro Olympics should be postponed or moved because of the Zika outbreak. The 150 experts — including former White House science adviser Dr. Philip Rubin — issued an open letter to the U.N. health agency, calling for the games to be delayed or […]

  • News

    Crews work to mop up Hiland Fire near Eagle River

    by KTVA 11 News on May 27, 22:18

      Last updated at 3:11 p.m. on Saturday, May 28 EAGLE RIVER — A large number of emergency responders spent Friday evening battling a small wildfire near Hiland Road in Eagle River. By Saturday afternoon, the fire was 100-percent contained and crews were conducting mop-up operations, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry (DOF). In […]

  • News

    From WWII to Vietnam: Wasilla veteran remembers 28 years of service

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 27, 21:36

    There may not be many people who can claim they fought in World War II, became a German prisoner of war then stayed in the military to complete two tours of duty in Vietnam, but Wasilla resident Walter Ferguson is one of them. Walt and his wife Lila are both 91 years old. They met […]

  • Lifestyle

    Anchorage store goes above and beyond to support deaf employees

    by Shannon Ballard on May 27, 20:30

    Inside the South Anchorage Petco there are plenty of sounds to grab your attention, but 22-year-old Joseph Martin works in silence. “I can’t hear and it’s hard they don’t understand. I can’t talk,” Joseph Martin said using sign language. When KTVA spoke to Joseph Martin on Friday, his mom Jane did her best to interpret. […]