Study: Number Of ID Theft Victims To Drop

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The Council of Better Business Bureaus is reporting the number of people victimized by identity theft will decline this year below 2003 levels. The CBBB is projecting 8.9 million Americans will have their identities stolen in 2006, down from 10.1 million in 2003.

Those age 65 and older are the least likely (2.3%) to be ID theft victims, while those age 25 to 34 are the most likely (5.4%). The figures are based on a study of 5,000 consumers surveyed by telephone by Javelin Strategy and Research.

According to the study's authors, four common misconceptions were found related to ID theft: consumers are helpless to protect themselves; consumers bear the brunt of financial losses; using the Internet contributes to increased fraud risk, and senior citizens are the most frequent targets.

Among other key findings:

* The average amount per fraud case has increased to $6,383 from $5,249 over two years.

* 68% of victims incur no out-of-pocket expenses.

* Victims now spend more time seeking to resolve cases-40 hours in 2006 vs. with 33 hours in 2003.

* In cases where the means of fraud can be ID'd, 90% of the thefts occur via traditional channels, not through the Internet, and the primary sources of personal data theft are lost or stolen wallets, checkbooks or credit cards.

* 47% of identity fraud is linked to someone the victim knows.

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