Identity theft cost $52.6 billion last year, up from $51.4 billion in 2003, according to the survey by Javelin Strategy & Research and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The survey also found that the number of new identity theft victims fell 8% from 10.1 million in 2003 to 9.3 million last year. Victims made up 4.25% of U.S. adults, with 2.38% facing fraud on existing credit card accounts; 1.15% on existing non-credit card accounts and 0.83% on new accounts and other frauds.
Fraud, however, on existing credit card accounts is the least costly form of ID theft, with a mean fraud loss of $5,803 per victim. New accounts fraud generated a mean loss of $12,646 per victim, and existing non-card accounts fraud caused $9,912 in losses per victim.
Hispanics and African Americans are twice as likely as Asians or Whites to experience new account fraud, while higher income households are more likely to fall victim to existing credit card accounts fraud. The average out of pocket cost-per-victim was $650.
Phishing, the much-publicized online fraud committed by crooks posing as a legitimate business, caused a loss of $2,320 per victim. In contrast, the mean loss for ID theft committed by a friend, relative or neighbor was $15,607, the report found. Theft of paper mail generated a mean loss of $9,243.
Pleasanton, CA-based Javelin conducted the study last fall, polling 4,000 adults and interviewing 507 fraud victims, giving the study a 95% confidence level.
Someone has been (ph)fishing for your identity - did you bite?
Phishing? Phishing is a high-tech scam that uses spam to deceive consumers into disclosing their credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security numbers, passwords, and other sensitive personal information.
Below is a typical phishing email aimed at Cox Communications Internet customers.
"It has just come to our attention that a new fraudulent e-mail is being directed to cox.net e-mail addresses attempting to collect customer financial information. This e-mail did not originate from Cox Communications and customers should not follow instructions in that e-mail. The Network Security team has acted quickly, and the impacted site is no longer reachable from the Cox network."
Sample Phishing E-mail:
Subject: ATTENTION: COX account reactivation Dear COX member,
Here at Cox we have seen numerous fraud attempts to our system. We are updating our billing information records to help cut down the number of attempts that occur. It is very important to update your billing information as soon as possible. In a result of you not updating your account information we will have to place a hold on your account in suspection of fraud if one occurs to your account.
Please do not worry. Our card processing system will check your billing information and confirm your membership.
Click here to update your records.
Please fill the forms correctly, because of any mistake in information may place account on hold for more comfirmation of information.
Thank you for your time.
COX Information Security Department