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Identity theft criminals are getting smarter. Not only are they finding new ways to con you out of or capture your personal information, but they are also capitalizing on ways to delay discovery of the crime. And the longer it takes to realize you've been a victim, the longer it will likely take to repair the damage.
In a comparison of identity theft data from two Aftermath Studies conducted by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), in 2004, 37.5 percent of respondents said they discovered the ID theft within three months. That percentage is down from 48 percent in 2003. Additionally, 18 percent of 2004 participants said it took four or more years to discover the crime, doubling the 2003 sampling of nine percent.
The longer it takes victims to discover the ID theft, the longer it will likely take to undo the damage, with some cases reported to span ten or more years after the crime is first uncovered. Even if a thief is stopped from using information, victims face a long and winding trail of tracking all the damage, clearing records, proving innocence, closing accounts, and piecing their credit history back together one record and one agency at a time.