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The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) is a great resource for statistics and information related to identity theft prevention and recovery. Among other educational and support activities, ITRC conducts studies that reflect occurrences and the ever-growing challenges associated with tracking and controlling residual effects of identity theft crimes.
Despite consistent identity theft data being compiled in ITRC studies, results gathered regarding the time it takes from discovery to recovery varies widely from one study to the next. For example, a 2004 study noted that ID theft victims spent an average of 330 hours to recover from the crime, but this average is deceiving. When taking a closer look at specific answers, the hours reported ranged from 3 hours to 5,840.
Why such a wide discrepancy? Potential damages from a single lost credit card are minimal compared to a stolen Social Security number used to open new accounts in the victim's name repeatedly for years. So, clearly the severity of the crime affects the length of time it takes to undo the damage -- damage that could sometimes take years to repair.
For complete results of ITRC victim impact studies, along with prevention advice, scam alerts, and victim support information, visit IDtheftcenter.org.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|