Identity Theft Loss Falls 12% to $49 billion in 2006

Americans lost about $49.3 billion in 2006 to identity theft criminals, a 11.5% decline from $55.7 billion identity theft loss in 2005, on increased vigilance among consumers and businesses, according to The 2007 Identity Fraud Survey Report by Javelin Strategy & Research. 

Other Highlights: 

  • The average identity theft fraud fell 9% to $5,720 in 2006 from $6,278 in 2005, while the median held steady at $750.
  • 8.4 million adult Americans, or 1 in 27, learned last year that criminals committed fraud with personal data such as credit card or Social Security numbers. That's down from 8.9 million in 2005 and 10.1 million in 2003.
  • Of America's overall adult population, 3.7 percent were victims, as compared to 4.0 percent in 2005.
  • Consumers on average spent $535 to clear up a fraud, though more than half spent nothing, the study said. 

Adults under 25, African-Americans, and people who make more than $150,000 were among the groups most likely to suffer fraud, according to the study.

Experts suggest that consumers notify financial services providers and file "fraud alerts" with the Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit bureaus if they suspect identity theft.

Javelin Strategy & Research defines identity fraud as access to personal account information that leads to fraud. Results were based on a phone survey last fall of 5,006 people, including 469 who said they were fraud victims. The survey is co-sponsored by CheckFree, Visa and Wells Fargo & Company.

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