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article imageReport: One new identity theft victim every 3 seconds in U.S.

By Leigh Goessl     Feb 26, 2013 in Business
A recently released report says in 2012 there was one new victim of identity theft every three seconds in the United States. The thefts accounted for billions of dollars.
A new report published by Javelin Strategy & Research outlines the staggering number of identity theft frauds that were committed last year in the U.S. The report looked at the numbers, fraud trends, data breaches and more.
According to Javelin's 2013 Identity Fraud Report's overview, the increase in ID theft was "driven by dramatic jumps in the two most severe fraud types, new account fraud (NAF) and account takeover fraud (ATF)."
“We have to keep up with fraudsters faster,” says Jim Van Dyke, CEO of Javelin Strategy & Research, reported Fox Business News. “The degree to which new account fraud is up sharply as well, and that is the most damaging form of ID fraud.”
Identity thieves made away with over $21 billion dollars last year, said the Javelin report, noting it was the highest since 2009. Over 12 million Americans became victims of ID theft last year, which is how the "every three seconds" figure was calculated.
Another key finding highlighted were data breaches. According to the study, approximately 1 in 4 individuals affected by a data breach later became an identity theft victim. Over the past few years, there have been several prominent incidences of data breach, including Zappos and Sony Entertainment, as reported by Digital Journal last year. Victims that had their social security number compromised were "5 times more likely" to fall victim to fraud, said Javelin; this is an increase over 2011.
It was emphasized consumers should take data breach notices seriously.
“This past year was one where there were both successes and setbacks for consumers, institutions and fraudsters,” Van Dyke said in a press release. “Consumers and institutions are now starting to act as partners—detecting and stopping fraud faster than ever before. But fraudsters are acting quicker than ever before and victimizing more consumers. Consumers must take data breach notifications more seriously and maintain vigilance to safeguard personal information, especially Social Security numbers.”
Javelin Strategy & Research has been doing identity theft studies for the last 10 years. While the 21 billion figure is a three-year high, the organization reported it wasn't the highest as losses equated to $47 billion in 2004.
This report highlights the importance of vigilance on both the part of consumers and of businesses. Identity and financial fraud can occur in a variety of ways, including online purchases, dumpster diving, social engineering, or the aforementioned data breach, to name a few.
Unfortunately, child ID theft is also becoming big business for these fraudsters. Just this past week a WSET report highlighted that children are 51 times more at risk than adults for ID theft.
Being such a lucrative business, chances are ID thieves are not going to retire anytime soon from exploiting both adults and children. Several agencies, including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, offer tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of ID theft and what to do if it happens to you.
More about Identity theft, Data breach, Theft, Id theft, Javelin Strategy & Research
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