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

Identity theft rises, consumers rage


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

    Alaska Native Heritage Center celebrates cultural visionaries

    by Liz Raines on Nov 29, 13:40

    The Alaska Native Heritage Center celebrated its sixth annual Visionary Awards Saturday night, as part of Alaska Native Heritage Month. Organizers say the goal was to showcase individuals that nurture and promote culture in their own unique way that is enticing to younger generations. Five Native Alaskan artists — Byron Nicholai, Samuel Johns, Allison Warden, […]

  • News

    Quiltmakers donate patchwork to benefit Alaska’s foster children

    by Eric Ruble on Nov 29, 12:11

    On Saturday, about 100 quiltmakers decided to donate their hard work in an effort to help others. A total of 217 quilts were on display at the University Center mall. All were up for sale via a silent auction to benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA. The organization’s Alaska chapter helps abused and neglected […]

  • News

    Thousands turn out for 2015 Police Navidad

    by Eric Ruble on Nov 29, 11:31

    An estimated 6,000 people filled the Dena’ina Center Saturday for the fifth annual Police Navidad. The free festival is a chance for the Anchorage Police and Fire Departments to get to know their community in a “non-crisis” environment, says Dani Myren with the APD Employees Association. About 200 people were volunteering Saturday, many of which […]

  • News

    SmallBizSat: Anchorage business boasts local expertise as key to compete

    by Liz Raines on Nov 28, 19:01

    On Small Business Saturday, locally owned Skinny Raven Sports says it saw a big boost from last year’s sales. “There’s been a lot of feet through the door, which is awesome,” said general manager Ben Stolpman. “It shows that people value small business.” Despite the fact that you can find almost all of the products […]

  • Sports

    At Great AK Shootout, Wiggs lifts Seawolves to 71-65 win over Drexel

    by Jake Edmonds on Nov 28, 14:08

    The University of Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team earned a second round win in the GCI Great Alaska Shootout Friday, defeating Drexel 71-65. The Seawolves were led by the junior stand-out Suki Wiggs, who had 33 points in the win. Wiggs is proving to be a huge asset for head coach Rusty Osbourne and the […]

  • News

    In Fairbanks, borough suspends ride share payments after no one signs up

    by Associated Press on Nov 28, 12:25

    Residents aren’t getting on board with ride sharing in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (http://bit.ly/1YzWBoS) borough officials and Enterprise Holdings have agreed to suspend payments for a program that no one has signed up for since the company was hired in September 2014. Borough transportation manager Adam Barth says he […]

  • Crime

    Anchorage police seek wanted man, Dajon Hale

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 28, 11:58

    The Anchorage Police Department is asking for the public’s help finding 26-year-old Dajon Hale, who currently has two felony warrants for his arrest. Police say in June, Hale was pulled over for speeding in a construction zone in the area of E. 56th Avenue and Lake Otis Parkway. The officer then discovered Hale was on probation […]

  • News

    Red Cross of Alaska speaks out for Giving Tuesday

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 27, 22:48

    After Thanksgiving, shoppers have a number of opportunities to save big: first there’s Black Friday, then Small Business Saturday and finally, Cyber Monday. Many use the sales in stores and online as a chance to get deals on Christmas presents for their loved ones, but the Red Cross of Alaska says Giving Tuesday is another […]