• 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

  • Politics

    Education commissioner on Walker’s vetoes: Districts will bear burden of cuts

    by Eric Ruble on Jun 29, 20:54

    A reduction in education funding of more than $58 million could mean difficult decisions for Alaska schools during the coming months. The cuts come as part of Gov. Bill Walker’s $1.29 billion vetoes, announced Wednesday. “We’ve had multiple years of these cuts, and I think people are starting to worry,” said Aaron Poe, a member […]

  • News

    Fireworks shows get OK from Anchorage fire chief

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jun 29, 19:47

    The Anchorage Fire Department has given the green light for two fireworks shows on the Fourth of July. One will be held at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage, the other at Eagle River Lions Club Community Park in Eagle River. Fire Chief Denis LeBlanc said residents need to remember that fireworks are still illegal in Anchorage […]

  • Lifestyle

    FDA questions effectiveness of popular hand sanitizers

    by Associated Press on Jun 29, 19:02

    Federal health officials want to know whether hand sanitizers used by millions of Americans work as well as manufacturers claim — and whether there are any health risks to their growing use. The Food and Drug Administration is asking for new studies on how the antiseptic gels and rubs fight germs and get absorbed into the body, […]

  • News

    AWWU announces intersection closure for water main repairs

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jun 29, 18:45

    The intersection of Tudor Road and Old Seward Highway will be closed from Friday night until early Wednesday morning, the Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility (AWWU) announced. The closure will begin at 8 p.m. Friday to allow AWWU personnel to make repairs to a water main that was damaged in May. Alaska Road Boring Company was […]

  • Crime

    Charging documents show woman found in car was tortured, shot before being killed

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jun 29, 17:17

    A late night DUI crash turned into a homicide investigation after police found a dead woman in the back of a vehicle Monday night. Charging documents against the driver, 34-year-old Benjamin Wilkins, revealed the woman had been severely injured and killed prior to the crash. Wilkins was detained on suspicion of intoxication after failing field sobriety […]

  • Lifestyle

    Alaskans: Be bear aware with fish waste

    by Megan Edge on Jun 29, 13:50

    Fishermen, watch where you waste. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is asking you to dispose of any leftover fish parts and pieces in the appropriate areas. Tossing waste in the wrong places can be dangerous for bears and humans, plus it could lead to a fine. “It’s fishing season and folks need to […]

  • Crime

    3 teens arrested in kidnapping, robbery case

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jun 29, 13:50

    Alaska State Troopers and the Anchorage Police Department have filed charges against a group of teenagers after an alleged kidnapping, robbery and assault early Wednesday morning. Around 4 a.m., the three teens – 19-year-old Damien Peterson, 18-year-old Austin Barrett and 17-year-old Devin Peterson, all of Wasilla — allegedly assaulted an Eagle River man at a home on […]

  • DayBreak

    Workforce Wednesday: 10 skills to master to impress an employer

    by Daybreak Staff on Jun 29, 12:40

    Getting a job is all about knowing what to do and what not to do in order to get that interview, then climb the ladder, especially as the state’s job force becomes more competitive. Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium’s (APICC) outreach coordinator meets with businesses statewide to get a better feel for the workforce. Martha […]