Identity Theft: Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center Resource Paper [open pdf - 121KB]
"Identity theft has been called the fastest growing consumer crime in America. In 2011, identity theft was the top consumer complaint reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Fifteen percent of consumers who contacted the FTC complained of identity theft. Identity theft complaints increased tenfold between the years 2000 and 2008. Millions of Americans become identity theft victims each year, and it is expected that identity theft rates will continue to rise. From the perpetrator's perspective, identity theft is a low risk, high reward crime. Local law enforcement agencies have few resources dedicated to the investigation of identity crimes. As a result, the vast majority of identity thefts are not investigated. Most identity thieves are neither arrested nor charged. The initial acquisition of personal information may be as simple as rummaging through a victim's trash. Once personal information is obtained by identity thieves, they will continue using it until the victim takes action to make his or her personal information difficult to use. At that point, the identity thief simply stops using the information. For example, police in Lubbock, Texas arrested members of a husband and wife identity theft ring who kept stolen information from hundreds of victims stored in file cabinets. Thieves may also sell stolen information on various Web sites accessible only to vetted criminals. In 2012, the Department of Justice shut down 36 Web sites where personal identifiers such as credit card numbers were bought and sold. The harsh reality is that millions of Americans will continue to become victims of identity theft each year with little hope that the perpetrators will be brought to justice. Identity theft leaves victims a legacy of frustration and financial problems with few services available to help."
Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center: https://www.ovcttac.gov