The Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC), a nationally recognized non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft, today released its annual Identity Theft: The Aftermath 2016 report that explores the impact of identity theft victimization. This victim impact survey asks victims of identity theft, who have previously contacted the ITRC for assistance, to share their identity theft case experience. This year’s report highlights the devastating financial burden victims often face in this situation and uncovered that 30 percent of those who reported criminal identity theft issues and 17 percent of the overall respondents found themselves in need of government assistance programs to overcome the financial impact.
“The Aftermath report continues to reveal the devastating emotional, financial and physical effects identity theft has on all aspects of a victim’s life. It highlights a fact the ITRC has long been aware of: This crime impacts not only the individual dealing with the crime, but families, communities and society as a whole,” said Eva Velasquez, Identity Theft Resource Center president and chief executive officer. “The knowledge gained from this report reiterates the importance of providing victims and the public at large with quick access to the necessary tools to begin the remediation process quickly, as well as information to help detect identity theft incidents at the onset of the crime.”
The survey responses provide a comprehensive picture of the true impact of this crime on its victims and confirms that identity theft creates more than just financial hardship for victims –it has the capacity to invade many other areas of their lives. It can negatively impact employment, housing, and even educational opportunities. Many victims also reported the time spent resolving their cases replaced quality time spent with family, pursuing a hobby, or taking a vacation.
Key findings include:
Financial Impact: Of those who shared the additional impact of their identity theft experience, 35 percent of the survey respondents indicated it was necessary to borrow money, 25 percent had to sell possessions, and 23 percent reported moving or relocating.
Lost Opportunities: Respondents who reported criminal identity theft issues experienced a number of lost opportunities due to their victimization including missing work (55 percent), losing an employment opportunity (44 percent) and loss of residence or housing (31 percent).
The Effects of Online Account Takeovers: Nearly 1/5 of survey respondents reported significant repercussions when their online accounts were taken over, including job loss (24 percent) and reputational damage among friends (61 percent) and colleagues (31 percent).
The ITRC’s Identity Theft: The Aftermath 2016 report has been conducted intermittently since 2003. The ability to examine and report long-term trends due to the longevity of the study allows the ITRC to paint a picture of identity theft from the victim’s point of view, underscoring the ITRC’s mission as a victim centric organization.
You can view the full report here.