June 14, 2008

The cost of identity theft

The government National Crime Justice Reference Service has a report on the facts and figures of the prevalence and impact of identity theft.

Key bullets:
"In 2004, 3.6 million households, representing 3% of the households in the United States, discovered that at least one member of the household had been the victim of identity theft during the previous six months"

"About two-thirds of households experiencing identity theft reported some type of a monetary loss as a result of theft. The average loss was $1,290."

"About 1 in 6 victimized households had to pay higher interest rates as the result of identity theft, and 1 in 9 households were denied phone or utility service. Households were equally likely to be turned down for insurance or pay higher rates, be the subject of a civil suit or judgment, or be the subject of a criminal investigation (7%, 5%, and 4%, respectively)."

So what should we take away from this?

Identity theft is common enough to be concerned with, can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars and can have side effects on your credit ratings and interest rates.

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