• 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

    Anchorage pilot dies in Oregon air show crash

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 27, 22:16

    Marcus Paine, a pilot based out of Anchorage, died in a plane crash at an airshow in Madras, Oregon on Saturday. The Airshow of the Cascades website stated Marcus Paine died during his Saturday afternoon performance. “The Paine family and the airshow community appreciate your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” an air show […]

  • Lifestyle

    Bethel physician Dr. Jill Seaman on splitting her time between Alaska and South Sudan

    by Anna Rose MacArthur/KYUK on Aug 27, 18:26

    This story originated from KYUK Public Media and was republished with permission. A Bethel physician is getting ready to return to South Sudan and the medical organization she’s helped run there since the 1980s. Dr. Jill Seaman spends about four months a year in Bethel working at the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation. Then she travels to Old Fangak, […]

  • News

    AST: Army, wildlife troopers help rescue injured pilot following crash

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 27, 17:42

    A U.S. Army helicopter and crew, along with Alaska Wildlife Troopers, helped find and rescue a Fairbanks pilot after his plane crashed Saturday. An online Alaska State Troopers dispatch stated 69-year-old William Larry was alone when his Piper Super Cub plane crashed seven miles northeast of Harding Lake. The crash was reported at 10:49 a.m., […]

  • News

    AFD: At least one unit in Reka Drive building damaged by fire

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 27, 15:39

    At least one home on Reka Drive was damaged by fire Saturday. The Anchorage Fire Department responded and was able to put the fire out. Multiple people called to report the fire at 2:03 p.m., according to a fire dispatcher. She said 14 AFD units were sent to the fire, which caused visible damage to […]

  • Crime

    Former Bethel officer Andrew Reid sentenced, victim’s sister speaks up about lasting trauma

    by Adrian Wagner/KYUK on Aug 27, 13:53

    This story originated from KYUK Public Media and was republished with permission. BETHEL — Former Bethel police officer Andrew Reid has been sentenced by a Bethel judge to the maximum penalty allowed for the two crimes he pleaded guilty to: one count of first-degree assault and one count of fourth-degree official misconduct. Reid will spend a maximum […]

  • News

    Boston police officers cover vet bill for dog who ‘took a bullet’ for his owner

    by Jennifer Earl / CBS News on Aug 27, 13:29

    An innocent young woman and a family dog were struck with bullets after an argument erupted in gunfire in a Boston neighborhood early Thursday. According to CBS Boston, police are still searching for suspects in the shooting of 18-year-old Dashaye Mizhari, who is now in the intensive care unit. The teenager was reportedly shot three times as she ran for cover. But officers believe there could have […]

  • Lifestyle

    Hunting, fishing licenses on sale again in Washington following hack

    by KTVA / AP on Aug 27, 13:21

    Hunting and fishing licenses are on sale again in Washington state, after someone hacked or attempted to hack into an outside vendor’s system, exposing several million records containing the personal information of hunters and anglers throughout the Northwest. Washington halted all license sales after the intrusion was discovered last week, but resumed them Saturday through […]

  • Lifestyle

    Governor’s daughter-in-law among runners in race to benefit cystic fibrosis patients

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 27, 12:46

    ANCHORAGE — Gov. Bill Walker was one of many Alaskans cheering on runners in this year’s Lost Lake Run, which benefits patients living with cystic fibrosis. Walker was supporting his daughter-in-law, Sabrina Walker, who has cystic fibrosis. She was a participant in the race Saturday and with her team has helped raise more than $11,000 […]