It's not just hype -- identity theft is definitely on the rise, according to a study published earlier today by the Identity Theft Resource Center.
The study, entitled "Identity Theft: The Aftermath 2006," offers a detailed analysis of both online and physical theft, and its impact on victims and businesses.
The study shows that ID theft, both through the Internet and through stolen wallets and purses, increased significantly between 2004 and 2006, according to the ITRC. The cost of ID theft also has grown, and now costs businesses about $87,303 per incident, a figure that is 78 percent higher than it was in 2004.
In addition to growth figures, the study offered some unexpected insights on identity crime. For example, a significant portion of ID theft is actually perpetrated by friends or relatives of the victims, rather than an outsider, the ITRC says. Almost 70 percent of child ID theft is accomplished by a parent or step-parent, and more than half of it is perpetrated on children between infancy and five years of age.
The study also debunked the notion that all identity thieves are after existing credit cards. In fact, nearly two thirds of ID theft victims reported that the perpetrator attempted to open new lines in their names, while only 27 percent reported that the perpetrator made charges on their existing credit or debit cards.
Victims spent an average of 97 hours and more than $1,800 in the effort to restore their identities, the study says.
Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading