The Cost of Identity Theft is $4865 Per Person

A November 2010 study revealed that 79% of Americans are at least somewhat concerned about identity theft, with 42% being very or extremely concerned.

Yet, only 12% are enrolled in an identity theft protection program.

Further analysis revealed that identity theft costs about $4865 per person violated, yet identity protection services cost around $250 per year.

The results are part of the 2010 U.S. Consumer Study which surveyed 1,000 Americans on Identity Theft, commissioned by IdentityHawk and fielded by Survey Sampling International.*

The Shocking Costs Involved

Further, Javelin Strategy & Research shows in its 2010 The Javelin Annual Identity Protection Services Scorecard that in 2009, 11.1 million people were victims of identity theft at a cost of $54 billion to businesses and individuals.

On a per person basis, the cost is $4,841. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), in its 2009 Victim Aftermath Study, revealed the average out-of-pocket cost to the citizens who are identity theft victims is $527.

According to Phil Sandler, spokesperson for IdentityHawk, “Beyond out of pocket costs, people have to spend a huge amount of time just regaining and reclaiming their identity.”

According to The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), victims reported spending an average of 68 hours repairing the damage done by identity theft to an existing account used or taken over by the thief.

And in cases where a new account, criminal, governmental or a combination of several situations were involved, respondents reported an average of 141 hours to clean up the fraud. Further reports indicate it can take 330 hours to restore a person’s identity.

The IdentityHawk study also revealed that 38 million U.S. citizens (or 12.5% of the population) claim they have been victims of identity theft in their lifetime.

Where Identity is Stolen

It was also reported in the 2010 The Javelin Annual Identity Protection Services Scorecard that most data breaches are not online, but rather from stolen/lost wallets:

Lost or stolen wallets: 43%

While conducting a transaction: 19%

Friendly theft: 13%

Online: 11%

Data breach: 11%

Stolen paper/mail 3%

Other: 1%

The Identity Theft Protection Expert study revealed the most common precautions Americans take to prevent identity theft:

Action % of respondents

Always pick up receipts: 68%

Anti virus/Anti-spyware: 67%

Review bank/credit card statements: 66%

Shred mail with personal information: 56%

Pick strong passwords: 50%

Shred pre-approved offers: 49%

Carry only necessary ID: 45%

Use secure mailboxes: 32%

Don’t input personal info online: 22%

Don’t shop online: 15%

Enrolled in ID theft protection program: 12%

Added Sandler, “Clearly, while physical theft is the number one way people lose their identity, it takes a vigilant system to find unusual activity to uncover identity theft and fraud.

Most people find out when it too late. People need immediate alerts when there is suspicious activity regarding their accounts,” he said.