Economy Hits ID Theft Victims Harder

By: Absolute Team | 4/21/2009

A new survey from Nationwide indicates that consumers impacted today from identity theft may not have enough money in reserve to get through the recovery process.

The survey, conducted with 400 adults in December of 2008, looked both to identity theft victims and to unaffected consumers in equal proportion. According to the survey, 10% of identity theft victims polled missed payments due to the crime. 80% say that they suffered serious repercussions as a result of identity theft, including lower credit scores, utilities shut off, bankruptcy, vehicle repossession, home foreclosure or jail time.

A previous survey talked about here indicates the average consumer cost per fraud incident was $496, but this does not include the time needed to recover from the fraud, which is likely increasing the odds of not being able to financially cope with the burden.

"If the identity theft involves your credit cards you can often resolve the problems quickly. However, if the fraud involves a debit card, a loan or your health insurance, the impact can be costly and time consuming. With so many Americans losing their savings and investments, people have less money to fall back on during the time it takes to stop the bleeding." - Kirk Herath, Chief Privacy Officer for Nationwide Insurance

The survey found that most identity theft victims surveyed tend to be Caucasian, female, ages 35-54, college-educated, married, and employed full time. Those separated or divorced, and in high income households, are more likely to be affected.

Previous Nationwide surveys found that victims spend an average of 81 hours recovering from identity theft, with some going much longer. Other surveys have found similar average resolution times.

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