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The FTC’s ID Theft Data Clearinghouse offers a view into the impact of this crime on individuals, and its prevalence in a specific area. In calendar year 2004, the FTC received more than 7,500 identity theft complaints from Pennsylvania consumers, with more than 1,800 victims reporting from Philadelphia. Of the Pennsylvania victims, 32% reported that their identity was used to open new credit card accounts or take over existing accounts. Nineteen percent reported that utility service, including cell phone accounts, had been opened in their names. Bank fraud, including accessing a checking or savings account, reportedly affected 15% of the Pennsylvania complainants, and 8% reported that government documents or benefits had been obtained fraudulently in their names. Finally, 7% reported employment-related fraud, 6% reported loan fraud, and 23% reported other, miscellaneous types of fraud such as use of another’s name in the criminal justice system, to obtain medical services or rent a home.35 These percentages generally track the national trends.
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