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Financial Crime and Identity Theft

A 2003 survey of the experiences of consumers age 45 and over found that two percent had been victims of a major swindle that cost them more than $1,000. Almost half said that the experience occurred in the past year. (American Association of Retired Persons. 2004. 2003 Consumer Experience Survey. Washington, D.C.)

A 2003 survey sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that in the past five years, 27.3 million Americans were victims of identity theft through misuse of their personal information, including nearly 10 million in the last year alone. (Federal Trade Commission. 2003. Identity Theft Survey Report. Washington, D.C.: Federal Trade Commission.)

Results of the FTC survey indicate that the total cost of identity theft approaches $50 billion per year. The average loss from the misuse of a victim's personal information is $4,800. (Ibid.)

The fraudulent use of victims' personal information to obtain goods and services cost businesses and financial institutions $33 billion in 2002. (Ibid.)

The average loss to consumers from telemarketing fraud in 2003 was $1,504 per person, nearly double the amount lost in 2002. Phony credit card offers were the most-reported scam. (National Fraud Information Center. 2004. 2003 Telemarketing Fraud Report. Washington, D.C.: National Consumer League.)

Consumers age 60 and over reported a higher percentage of complaints for telemarketing fraud in 2003 than in 2002. Almost 34 percent of complaints were made by older victims. (Ibid.)

According to a 2003 Federal Trade Commission survey, 25 million adults in the United States were victims of one or more consumer frauds during the previous year. (Federal Trade Commission. 2004. Consumer Fraud in the United States: An FTC Survey. Washington, D.C.)

Advanced fee scams for promised loans and credit cards were the most frequently reported consumer fraud, occurring at a rate of three incidents per 100 adults. (Ibid.)

Almost four million adults were unsuspectingly billed for buyer's club memberships. (Ibid.)

More than 13 million consumers were billed for unauthorized changes to their long distance telephone services. (Ibid.)

The average per consumer loss from online auction fraud in 2003 was $527. (National Fraud Information Center. 2004. Internet Fraud Statistics. Washington, D.C.: National Consumer League.)

Fraudulent charges resulting from identity theft average more than $90,000 per name used. (Identity Theft Resource Center. 2003. Identity Theft: The Aftermath 2003. Sacramento, CA.)

Only 15 percent of victims find out their identity has been stolen due to proactive action taken by a business; nearly 85 percent find out due to a negative consequence. (Ibid.)

A recent survey of 172 victims of identity theft and/or identity cloning, revealed that 19 offenders continued to use their victims' information after arrest and 10 continued after being sentenced. (Ibid.)

According to the same report, approximately 41 percent of victims surveyed were still dealing with the identity theft more than two years after the crime was discovered, and 27 percent were dealing with it after three years. (Ibid.)

It is estimated by the National White Collar Crime Center that losses due to employee theft can range from $20 to $90 billion annually to upwards of $240 billion a year, when accounting for losses due to intellectual property theft. (National White Collar Crime Center. 2003. Embezzlement. Richmond, VA.)

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National Crime Victims' Rights Week: Justice Isn't Served Until Crime Victims Are April 10–16, 2005
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