More Identity Theft In Mobile Phones, Computers Than On Internet

Utica, NY (AHN) – The Internet is not the exclusive tool of identification thieves, and accounts for only about 10 percent of the crime. Instead, technology like printers, mobile phones and computers were used in about half of the cases.

These are the findings of a study by Utica College’s Center for Identity Management and Information Protection that uses for the first time access to 500 closed cases from the US Secret Service.

According to Javelin Strategy & Research Inc., identity theft costs US business and consumers about $49.3 billion in 2006.

The center has been working with the US Secret Service, IBM Corp. and the Federal Bureau of Investigation since its creation in mid-2006 to study the methods used by ID thieves and to help corporations and law enforcement prevent this type of crime.

According to the study released Monday, identity theft is widespread in the northeastern and southern United States. Most of the offenders were African-Americans, of which more than two-thirds were male.

The average loss from identity theft was just over $31,000, PC World reports. But in one case, the defendant spent millions on luxury vehicles and then managed to set up shell companies and defraud investors at the cost of $13 million.

In general, the more offenders involved in the case, the higher the victim loss, said the study.

ID thieves victimize people that they did not know rather than friends and relatives which are the victims in 16 percent of cases. One-third of cases involved an inside job with the data being stolen from an employer, according to the study.

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