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2/25/2014 - Report: Identity theft pervasive threat in 2012


As the DOJ defines it, identity theft is the misuse or attempted misuse of an existing account for underhanded purposes.

The latest evidence of how prevalent identity theft is can be found in the sheer number of people who were victimized by it two years ago.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice and Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 16.5 million people were adversely impacted by identity theft in 2012, the latest year for which comprehensive data is available. In fact, financial losses were valued at north of $24.5 billion, which was more than the total of all other forms of personal property crime.

While there are several different forms of identity theft, the most common manifestation of it in 2012 was thieves attempting to use an existing account. For example, some individuals claimed government benefits by pretending they were someone else who legitimately was eligible for financial or monetary assistance, the DOJ reported. Another facade used with some frequency was providing police officers with misleading identification during a traffic stop.

As for how those victimized by identity theft came to realize their financial information was tampered with, the most common way was after a financial institution got in touch with them, such as a credit card issuer, according to the Justice Department. The vast majority of those affected were oblivious as to how said individual was able to hack into their personal information. Additionally, for those who were later informed as to who the perpetrator was, nine out of 10 consumers had never heard of them.

As the DOJ defines it, identity theft is the misuse or attempted misuse of an existing account for underhanded purposes. Entrepreneurs experience this type of crime regularly as well, with more than half of small business enterprises affected each year. Selective offers a variety of insurance coverages to help businessowners rebound from malicious activity like this, including Identity Recovery Coverage and CyCurity®, a cyber-liability protection plan.  To learn more, speak with one of our specialized independent insurance agents today.


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