Justice Department: One in five Americans victims of identify theft

More than one in five Americans had reported being a victim of identity theft as of 2021, the Justice Department said today. In a new study focusing on reports from that year, the agency found that nearly one in five U.S. residents ages 16 or older said they experienced ID theft in the previous 12 months while 22% reported having been targeted at some point in their lives.

Nearly 4% of ID theft victims in 2021 said their credit cards have been misused, according to the report. Three percent said their bank accounts have been misused. Nearly 1% had their personal information misused for fraudulent purposes, such as getting medical care or applying for a job or government benefits. Less than 1% had their personal information misused to open a new account.

Fifty-six percent of victims spent one day or less resolving financial or credit problems caused by the theft, the Justice Department said. Only 7% reported the crime to law enforcement, but 67% said they contacted a credit card company or bank. Victims sustained direct financial losses averaging $880. Victims of new account misuse had higher direct losses on average at $3,430, compared to victims of bank account misuse at $670 and credit card misuse at $620.


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