Effects of Identity Theft on Individuals

The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has published its 5th annual Aftermath study regarding the effects of identity theft on individuals. Here are a few of the details from the study. Over a five year period, the ITRC reports that 1/3 of identity thefts were perpetrated by someone known to the victim. The next largest number of thefts arose from lost or stolen wallets or PDAs. The cost to a victim of identity theft in 2007 averaged approximately $500 in out-of-pocket expenses for an existing account. If a new account was set up, the average out-of-pocket expenses rose to nearly $1,900. This is a rise of about $500 per victim since 2006. Additionally, only 10 percent of those surveyed discovered they had been a victim of identity theft after being notified by a business.

How long does it take to clear up one’s credit after being a victim? The ITRC study suggests victims spent an average of 116 hours cleaning up an existing account that had been damaged by a thief in 2007. Further, over 70 percent of the individuals surveyed said it took up to 12 months to clear up all the misinformation created by the identity theft, which is 20 percent more than the previous year. For the full report, visit http://www.idtheftcenter.org. For information about the costs businesses bear when experiencing a security breach, see our previous article, How much do those security breaches cost, take two.