Survey: 28% of ID theft victims know crime source

More than one out of four victims of identity theft know how their personal information fell into the wrong hands. The remaining 72 percent are left wondering just how their identity was compromised, says a new study by the nonprofit coalition Identity Theft Assistance Center (ITAC).

The survey interviewed more than 1,500 identity theft victims who were helped by ITAC after experiencing an identity theft crime. Of the 28 percent of respondents who did know the source of the theft, 26.5 percent said it was caused by friends, relatives and in-home employees who had access to their personal information. Computer-related theft was the next most common crime at over 21 percent, followed by lost or stolen wallets, checkbooks and credit card accounts, at over 15 percent. Breaches of data, such as in the recent compromise of the Heartland Payment Systems database, only accounted for 4.7 percent of identity theft cases.

Credit card videos

For more on this topic, check out this video:
Credit card video: 6 tips to protect yourself from ID theft

ITAC President Anne Wallace recommended keeping important financial data secure by monitoring your account online and keeping virus and security software up-to-date.

Michael Stanfield, chairman and CEO of Intersections Inc., attributed the deft use of technology by criminals to their ability to compromise consumers' personal information. "Technology allows criminals to act anonymously to steal information off your computer with key logging programs, or to create new identities using bits of information from public records," Stanfield said.

See related: 6 ways to protect identity in a data breach, 10 things you should know about identity theft, Credit card glossary terms for identity theft, Heartland data breach damages still mounting

Join the discussion
We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.

The editorial content on is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.

Weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, advice, articles and tips delivered to your inbox. It's FREE.

Updated: 03-20-2019