Identity Theft Incidents Increasing

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David A. Szwak

Identity Theft Incidents Increasing

Postby David A. Szwak » Tue Nov 15, 2005 8:27 pm

Identity Theft Incidents Increasing

Identity theft complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have doubled since the beginning of the year, and new information reveals that many of the thieves are acquaintances of the victims.

FTC released figures on identity theft based on calls to its hotlines at a hearing before Congress. The figures reveal that about 800 to 850 calls come into the hotline a week, That means that phone counselors have handled more than 30,000 calls so far this year.

Almost 60 percent of those who called into the hotline could provide some identifying information about the thief, such as a name, address or phone number and more than one-quarter of the victims reported that they personally knew the suspect.

Credit card fraud was the number one complaint. About 54 percent of callers reported a credit card account opened in their name or theft from an existing credit card account. About 26 percent reported identity theft from telephone, cellular phone or other utility service accounts. Bank fraud in the form of checking or savings accounts opened in victims' names accounted for 16 percent of complaints, and about 11 percent of victims reported fraudulent loans using their names.

Dollar amounts reported ranged widely from 34 percent who reported thefts of under $1,000 to 18 percent reporting thefts of over $10,000. About a third of complainants reported thefts of $1,000 to $5,000. FTC also told Congress that it shares data it collects with a clearinghouse set up for law enforcement and that it is looking into ways it could share limited information from its database with "businesses whose practices are frequently associated with identity theft."

FTC's hotline phone number is (877) ID-THEFT.

_ © 2000 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 10, No. 10, 10/00

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