Survey: 28% of ID theft victims know crime source
By Seamus McAfee | Published: April 2, 2009
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 percentsaid 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.
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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.
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