According to a new report, some 12.6 million people in the United States were victims of identity theft in the most recent year. The study from Javelin Research reveals that as many as one million more people reported ID theft in 2012 than in 2011.
The cost of dealing with identity theft also increased. In 2012, as much as $21 billion was spent to find identity thefts, correct inaccuracies resulting from fraud, and protect consumers against future identity theft. As with previous years, most identity theft happened within the home of the victim – identity theft is more likely to happen within a family than between a victim and an unknown identity thief.
Some of the most common thefts were that of Social Security numbers, online banking accounts, and credit cards. A Social Security number allows someone else to use your credit profile, while thieves use checking accounts and credit cards to spend away victims' money.
The report did highlight some advances in identity theft protection. For instance, one out of every four people who were notified that that their data might have been accessed by another party later became victims of identity theft. Additionally, the amount of time thieves use the average person's data also fell by one week to 48 days. New tools and protections ensure that identity thieves have to move quickly if at all, as most thieves are usually found within a matter of weeks when their paper trail of fraud is found by their victims and the banks fooled by ID theft.