9.9 million Americans fell victim to identity theft in 2008, survey finds

9.9 million Americans fell victim to identity theft in 2008, survey finds

More Americans are becoming victims of identity theft, but fraud detection and resolution skills are improving, which has helped to limit losses, a new study has found.

In 2008, the number of identity theft victims in the United States rose 22 percent to 9.9 million adults, according to a study released Monday by San Francisco, Calif.-based Javelin Strategy & Research.

The bright spot is that the total fraud amount last year increased only slightly — by 7 percent — to $48 billion, up from $45 billion in 2007.

The 2009 Identity Fraud survey also noted that the average consumer costs of identity fraud fell 31 percent to $496 per case in 2008, an indication that consumers and businesses are discovering and resolving fraud faster. The financial industry in particular has greatly improved its efforts to resolve fraud cases and to put controls in place to protect customers, the survey found.

Last year, women were 26 percent more likely to become fraud victims than men. Crimes of opportunity, such as informationretrieved from lost wallets, made up the vast majority of cases. About 43 percent of fraud cases last year were linked to crimes of opportunity, up from 33 percent in 2007.

The survey also found that more than 10 percent of victims knew who had stolen their identities, but in those cases, the theft often went undetected longer and costs were higher. Online access accounted for 11 percent of cases, the survey said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Arlene Satchell can be reached at asatchell@SunSentinel.com or 954-356-4209.

9.9 million

Adult victims of identity theft in 2008


Increase in number of victims from 2007

$48 billion

Fraud amount in 2008


Increase over 2007
Tampa Shredding
11806 S US Hwy 41
Gibsonton, FL 33534