The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

December 20, 2010
DOJ: estimated 11.7 million were victims of identity theft

An estimated 11.7 million Americans (aged 16 and over) were victims of identity theft, according to a 2008 U.S. Justice Department study whose results were released last week. The survey of 56,500 household residents is the first time the Bureau of Justice Statistics has collected data on these types of property crimes.

BJS estimates that only 23 percent of those victimized suffered some financial loss, but the total cost to society came to $17.3 billion during the two-year period of the study. It also calculates that 6.2 million people were victims of the unauthorized use of credit cards, the most common variety of identity theft.

A demographic breakdown of victims (p. 3) shows that wealthier people (i.e. those living in households making $75,00 and over) are more likely to experience at least one attempted or successful identity theft incident.

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About The Public Eye

Welcome to The Bee's newest blog: Public Eye. In the coming months, you will see us breaking news here as well as following up on investigations we have published with tidbits, news breaks and behind-the-scenes descriptions of our news-gathering process. Know of a wrong we could right? Send our fraud squad your tips at: fraudsquad@sacbee.com.

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