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IDENTITY THEFT SOARED IN 2003, EXPECTED TO CONTINUE

Source: Informatica

Posted on January 30, 2004

      The Federal Trade Commission released a new report citing alarming statistics about the growth of identity theft over the past year, in particular facilitated by the use of the Internet. The latter accounted for over half of the $437 million in losses due to fraud, incurred by Americans in 2003. Forty-two percent of those were directly related to identity theft.

      In 19 percent of those cases, thieves used the stolen identities to apply for credit cards under the victim's name.

      In 12 percent, they settled for using the victim's existing credit card accounts.

      Unspecified employment-related motives accounted for 11 percent of I.D. theft cases, and a little over 10 percent of the time the thieves were just after a free cell phone in the victim's name.

      In 8 percent of the cases the culprits plundered the victim's bank accounts. The most popular Internet scams reported were online auction rip-offs -- 15 percent of the cases -- and spammy quit-your-job-and-work-at-home-for-big-bucks swindles, which made up nine percent of the complaints.

      To stay informed, visit the FTC Web Site at www.consumer.gov/idtheft/




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