One In 14 Fell Prey To Identity Theft In 2012

The Associated Press

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The government says 1 out of every 14 Americans age 16 or older was a target or a victim of identity theft, a crime imposing a heavy emotional toll on many of its victims.

According to a national household survey of 70,000 people issued by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, identity theft resulted in $24.7 billion in financial losses last year. The crime affected 16.6 million people and fell most heavily on households with annual incomes of $75,000 or more. In that income bracket, 10 percent of such households were victimized.

The survey counted both attempted and successful incidents of identity theft.

Two-thirds of identity theft victims experienced financial losses, which averaged $1,769.

For many victims, the size of the loss was eclipsed by concerns that someone had stolen their identity and that it might take weeks or months to repair the damage.

Among victims who spent six months or more resolving financial and credit problems stemming from identity theft, 47 percent experienced severe emotional distress, compared with 4 percent who spent a day or less resolving problems.

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