According to a newly released survey, the most common identity theft victims tend to be middle aged married females, divorcees, or those who make more than $75,000 a year. Identity theft is the most common crime reported to the Federal Trade Commission, over 9 million Americans estimated to fall victim every year.
Nationwide Insurance, which conducted the survey, also reported that in this tough economy, it’s harder to bounce back financially after having your identity stolen. They polled 400 adults, including 200 identity theft victims and said that they didn’t know if they had enough money to recover from credit or debit card fraud. Ten percent of identity theft victims said that they missed payments as a result of the theft, and four out of five of those victims reported they also experienced lower credit scores, bankruptcy, and repossession, foreclosure, or jail time. Victims also relayed additional difficulties resulting from identity theft, including family problems and time missed at work.
The Nationwide survey found that 52 percent of respondents said they would try to recover from a case of ID theft on their own, and that nine out of ten people were already taking steps to protect themselves, by regularly checking their financial statements, monitoring their credit report, and limiting the number of credit cards they used.
According to Kirk Hearth, Chief Privacy Officer for Nationwide Insurance, credit card ID theft is relatively quick and easy to rebound from. However, if the fraud involves a debit card, a loan or your health insurance, the impact can be costly and time consuming. Nationwide’s past survey found that identity theft victims spend an average of 81 hours attempting to settle cases, and that one in four cases were still not resolved after a year. According to the FTC website, identity theft from credit cards may be easier to recover from because consumers can check their credit reports, see their purchase history, prove their innocence or even help apprehend the culprit.