About 7 percent of U.S. residents or 16 or older, 17.6 million people in all, were victims of identity theft last year, says a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. The result was about same as findings in 2012. The most common type of identity theft was the unauthorized misuse or attempted misuse of an account, reported by 16.4 million persons. An estimated 8.6 million victims experienced the fraudulent use of a credit card, 8.1 million reported unauthorized or attempted use of bank accounts, and 1.5 million people experienced other types of account theft, such as misuse or attempted misuse of an existing telephone, online or insurance account.
Most victims discovered incidents when a financial institution told them about suspicious activity (45 percent) or when they noticed fraudulent charges on an account (18 percent). Most victims did not know how the offender obtained their information, and 9 in 10 identity theft victims did not know anything about the offender. Two-thirds of identity theft victims reported a direct financial loss. Some 52 percent of victims were able to resolve any problems associated with the incident in a day or less. Fewer than one in 10 identity theft victims reported the incident to police.