Identity crime is the fastest growing crime in America. The number of identity theft incidents has reached over 9.9 million a year, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Every minute about 19 people fall victim to identity theft. It takes the average victim an estimated $500.00 and 30 hours to resolve each identity theft crime.
Studies have shown that it’s becoming more common for ones stealing your identity to be those closest to you. One study found 32% of identity theft victims discovered family member or relative was responsible for stealing their identity. That same study found 18% of identity theft victims were victimized by a friend, neighbor or in-home employee.
Most cases of identity theft can be resolved if they are caught early. Financial institutions like banks and creditors usually only hold the victim responsible for the first $50.00 of fraudulent charges. Only 28% of identity theft cases involve credit or financial fraud. Phone, utility, bank and employment fraud make up another 50% of cases.
You are not alone. There are thousands of identity theft victims in Massachusetts every year.
If you take action quickly, you can stop an identity thief from doing more damage. Follow these three steps as soon as possible:
- Place an Initial Fraud Alert
- Order Your Credit Reports
- Create an Identity Theft Report
Please visit the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information website here.