Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content



Researchers : Federal Trade Commission - Identity Theft Survey Report
Complete Description:This 2003 survey reports that 27.3 million Americans have been victims of identity theft in the five preceding years, including 9.9 million people in the previous year alone. Identity theft losses to businesses and financial institutions totaled nearly $48 billion and consumer victims reported $5 billion in out-of-pocket expenses. For all forms of identity theft, the loss to business was $4,800 and the loss to consumers was $500, on average. According to the survey results, fifty-two percent of all ID theft victims, approximately 5 million people in the last year, discovered that they were victims of identity theft by monitoring their accounts. Another 26 percent - approximately 2.5 million people - reported that they were alerted to suspicious account activity by companies such as credit card issuers or banks. Eight percent reported that they first learned when they applied for credit and were turned down. 15 percent of all victims - almost 1.5 million people in the last year - reported that their personal information was misused in nonfinancial ways, to obtain government documents, for example, or on tax forms. The most common nonfinancial misuse took place when the thief used the victim’s name and identifying information when stopped by law enforcement or caught committing a crime. Sixty-seven percent of identity theft victims - more than 6.5 million victims in the last year - reported that existing credit card accounts were misused and 19 percent reported that checking or savings accounts were misused. Finally, the survey reports that 51 percent of the victims - about 5 million victims - say they know how their personal information was obtained. Nearly one-quarter of all victims - roughly 2.5 million people in the last year - said their information was lost or stolen, including lost or stolen credit cards, checkbooks or social security cards. Stolen mail was the source of information for identity thieves in 4 percent of all victims - 400,000 in the last year. The survey was conducted by telephone with a Random Digit Dialing (RDD) random sample of 4057 US adults
Date Published:Monday, September 1, 2003
Funding Agency: Federal Trade Commission
Type: Report;
Source: Survey data;
Language: English
Audience: Researcher