(PRWEB) September 3, 2005
Identity theft – a fraud where criminals assume someone else’s identity for illegal gain – is the fastest growing crime in many developed countries.
In the UK incidence of identity theft is growing at a rate of 500% each year and, according to Which Magazine, 25% of UK adults say they have had their identity stolen or know a victim of ID fraud.
In the USA, according to the Better Business Bureau, over 9 million Americans fell victim to this type of crime during 2004. The annual value of this type of crime was estimated to be $ 52.6 billion.
However, contrary to popular opinion, the internet is not a major factor in the increase in identity theft and can, in fact, significantly reduce financial hardship suffered as a result of this type of criminal activity.
A 2005 survey conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research and The Better Business Bureau in the USA discovered that only 11.6% of identity theft cases used computers or the internet as a source of information for identity theft crimes.
The vast majority of information used to illegally assume someone else’s identity was sourced from traditional methods such as lost or stolen wallets, “dumpster diving” (sifting through discarded trash for personal documents), mail theft or misdirection and offline transactions.
Find out more about the problem of identity theft and access the Better Business Bureau survey: