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DOJ reports 3 percent of US households victimized by identity theft

[JURIST] Nearly 3.6 million US households - roughly 3 percent of the total - fell victim to identity theft during a six month period in 2004, according to a US Department of Justice report [PDF text; abstract] released Sunday. The survey, sent to over 40,000 US households, follows a 2003 Federal Trade Commission report [PDF] which determined that over 10 million people were victims of identity theft in 2003. The DOJ report included questions designed to better gauge incidences of credit theft and misuse of personal information to open fraudulent accounts. The report indicates that persons between the ages of 18 to 24, living in suburban areas, with household incomes exceeding $75,000 per year are most likely to become targets [press release]. It is currently a federal offense under the Identity Theft Assumption Deterrence Act [PDF text] to "knowingly use, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity."

Identity theft accounts for nearly $3.2 billion in losses to the US economy each year, and has been the focus of stiffer state and federal criminal penalties [FTC summary] in the past few years. AP has more.

Previously in JURIST's Paper Chase...

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