New Report and Data: 17.6 Million U.S. Residents Experienced Identity Theft In 2014
New data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
From a BJS News Release
An estimated 17.6 million persons, or about 7 percent of U.S. residents age 16 or older, were victims of at least one incident of identity theft in 2014, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. These statistics were similar to those in 2012.
Identity theft is the attempted or successful misuse of an existing account, such as a debit or credit card account, the misuse of personal information to open a new account or the misuse of personal information for other fraudulent purposes, such as obtaining government benefits or providing false information to police during a crime or traffic stop.
In 2014, the most common type of identity theft was the unauthorized misuse or attempted misuse of an existing account—experienced by 16.4 million persons. Victims may have experienced multiple types of identity theft. An estimated 8.6 million victims experienced the fraudulent use of a credit card, 8.1 million experienced the unauthorized or attempted use of existing bank accounts (checking, savings or other) and 1.5 million victims experienced other types of existing account theft, such as misuse or attempted misuse of an existing telephone, online or insurance account.
Most identity theft victims discovered the incident when a financial institution contacted them about suspicious activity (45 percent) or when they noticed fraudulent charges on an account (18 percent). The majority of identity theft victims did not know how the offender obtained their information, and 9 in 10 identity theft victims did not know anything about the offender.
Two-thirds of identity theft victims reported a direct financial loss. Victims whose personal information was misused or who had a new account opened in their name experienced greater out-of-pocket financial losses than those who had an existing credit card or bank account compromised. About 14 percent of identity theft victims experienced an out-of-pocket loss of $1 or more. Of those, about half suffered losses of $99 or less and 14 percent lost $1,000 or more.
The majority of identity theft victims (52 percent) were able to resolve any problems associated with the incident in a day or less, while about 9 percent spent more than a month. Victims who spent more time resolving the associated problems were more likely to experience problems with work and personal relationships and severe emotional distress than victims who resolved the problems relatively quickly. Among identity theft victims who spent six months or more resolving financial and credit problems due to the theft, 29 percent experienced severe emotional distress, while 4 percent who spent a day or less experienced such distress.
In 2014, fewer than one in 10 identity theft victims reported the incident to police. The majority (87 percent) of identity theft victims contacted a credit card company or bank to report misuse or attempted misuse of an account or personal information, while 8 percent contacted a credit bureau.
- About 7% of persons age 16 or older were victims of identity theft in 2014, similar to findings in 2012.
- The majority of identity theft victims (86%) experienced the fraudulent use of existing account information, such as credit card or bank account information.
- The number of elderly victims of identity theft increased from 2.1 million in 2012 to 2.6 million in 2014.
- About 14% of identity theft victims experienced out-of-pocket losses of $1 or more. Of these victims, about half suffered losses of less than $100.
- Half of identity theft victims who were able to resolve any associated problems did so in a day or less.
Direct to Complete News Release and More Selected Findings
Direct to Full Text Report and Data Files
See Also: Previous Identity Theft Reports (2004-)
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.