| October 23, 2015

Research of the Week: Last Year in Identity Theft

7% of all U.S. residents age 16 and over were ID theft victims in 2014.

Each week, Consolidated Credit searches for financial research that can help you deal with your debt and budget. This week…

The interesting study

In the fall the Bureau of Justice puts out a report about identity theft cases from the previous year. The BJS report for 2014 was released in September and it’s telling.

 

The big result

For every 100 residents in the U.S. age 16 older, seven of those people were the victims of some kind of ID theft last year.

  • 3% experienced misuse of a credit card account
  • 3% were victims of bank account misuse
  • The last 1% were victims of misuse of other types of accounts or misuse of personal information, such as opening new accounts

So if you managed to make it through 2014 without addressing a fraud alert from a creditor or clearing out charges you didn’t make on your debit card, consider yourself lucky.

The fascinating details

Here are some additional broad-level statistics from the report:

  • 86% of all victims had an existing account misused – be it a credit card, bank account or other type of credit
  • 14% of victims experienced out-of-pocket losses of $1 or more, and half suffered losses over $100
  • 36% of victims reported moderate to severe emotional distress as a result
  • Women were victims of identity theft more often than men
  • One in eight white Americans became a victim of ID theft, but only one in five African Americans and one in five Hispanics faced the same threat
  • People age 18-64 had the highest rates of theft by percentage, although the number of elderly victims has increased by about ½ million since 2012
  • 45% of victims found out about the theft because they were contacted by the financial institution that issued the account; 18% noticed fraudulent charges, while 9% noticed missing money

What you can do

First and foremost, pay attention to any attempts of contact from your creditors and bank. Nearly half of the victims realized there was an issue with theft because they received fraud notifications from their creditor or bank. Don’t ignore emails and calls from your financial institutions even if it’s your kneejerk reaction because you’ve dodged these calls in the past.

Next, make sure to review your transactions and monthly statements carefully to ensure all of the purchases made on that account are actually yours. Even if you’ve gone to paperless billing, take time to check your monthly statements when you receive email notification that the statement is ready. Additionally, the more you check your accounts, the more likely you are to notice a decrease in your credit line or account balance.

Taking those two steps can help you avoid the other bad ways that victims in 2014 learned their identity had been stolen:

  • 7% had a card declined or a check that bounced
  • 6% had problems when they applied for a loan or government benefits
  • 6% had the interesting experience of receiving merchandise they never ordered
  • And the worst – 0.4% were contacted by the police

And keep in mind that you don’t have to pay money for something like a credit monitoring service to ensure your personal information is safe. While these services can help by providing additional fraud alerts directly to your phone or email inbox, you can just as easily monitor by checking your statements and then taking time to review your credit report once every year.

"We are really proud to recommend Consolidated Credit" Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. is pleased to announce our partnership with the United Way as a United Way Chairman’s Circle Organization.

"We are really proud to recommend Consolidated Credit" Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. is pleased to announce our partnership with the United Way as a United Way Chairman’s Circle Organization.

All Consolidated Credit counselors are certified personal financial counselors (CFC) We've helped 5 million people get out of debt! Call us today and see what we can do for you.

Consolidated Credit is honored to receive the 2012 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Nonprofit Organization of the Year award. The EIFLE awards acknowledge innovation, dedication and the commitment of organizations that support financial literacy education worldwide. See what Consolidated Credit can do for you.

Consolidated Credit is honored to receive the 2012 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Nonprofit Organization of the Year award. The EIFLE awards acknowledge innovation, dedication and the commitment of organizations that support financial literacy education worldwide. See what Consolidated Credit can do for you.

The National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling are a set of guidelines for quality homeownership and counseling services. Industry professionals who adopt these standards can be trusted to provide consistent, high quality advice.
Click here to learn more.

Consolidated Credit Consulting Services, Inc. has been verified as the owner or operator of the Web site located at www.consolidatedcredit.org. Official records confirm Consolidated Credit Consulting Services, Inc. as a valid business. Call us today and see what we can do for you.

Consolidated Credit is a Certified ISO 9001 company, as verified through Bureau Veritas Certification.

Time tested and customer trusted. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services has been a BBB Accredited Business since 1998 and has a current A+ rating. Call us today and see what we can do for you.

View the Consolidatedcredit.org review status

Time tested and customer trusted. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services has been a BBB Accredited Business since 1998 and has a current A+ rating. Call us today and see what we can do for you.

View the Consolidatedcredit.org review status

Consolidated Credit is proud to be an ANAB accredited member. Accreditation by a recognized and respected body such as ANAB ensures the impartiality and competence of our company. To see what we can do for you, give us a call.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. Consolidated Credit is proud to be a member of HUD and also part of the Hope Now Alliance.

You can save!

With this amount of debt, you'd pay around $xx.xx on a DMP.

FREE Debt Consultation
VE Interactive