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Nearly One-Tenth Of U.S. Population Were Identity Theft Victims In Year

Nearly 24 million U.S. residents age 16 or older, 9% of the population, experienced identity theft in the past 12 months when interviewed in 2021, says the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics in a new report. As of 2021, about 1 in 5 persons (22%) had experienced identity theft in their lifetime. Almost 4% of people had their credit card misused, while 3% had a bank account misused. Two percent experienced misuse of their email or social media account. Nearly 1% had their personal information misused for fraudulent purposes, such as getting medical care or applying for a job or government benefits.

A majority of victims (56%) spent one day or less resolving financial or credit problems associated with their most recent identity theft. About 7% of identity-theft victims reported the incident to law enforcement, and 67% of victims contacted a credit card company or bank. On average, victims sustained direct financial losses of $880. Victims of misuse involving a new account ($3,430) had higher direct losses on average compared with victims of bank account ($670) and credit card misuse ($620). “While about 6 in 10 (59%) victims of identity-theft incidents in 2021 had financial losses of $1 or more, those losses totaled $16.4 billion” noted acting BJS director Kevin Scott, who added that 10% of identity-theft victims in 2021 were severely distressed as a result of the crime.


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