Identity Theft: Statistics on why we should be worried

Here at OSM we do enjoy a decent infographic, which gives facts and figures in an easily-digestible pictorial form. Recent infographics that we have reported on include one on the history of social networking and another about social networking statistics. The latest infographic that’s caught our eye is all about identity theft and you might be interested in some of the information gleaned from it.

Online fraud and crime is increasing year-by-year and you may have wondered just how much this costs us, the average consumers. We spotted this infographic, in an article by Jolie O’Dell over on Mashable, which seeks to clarify this. The infographic itself comes from Sam Franada of Lines and Moodswings who used data from various sources, and it was created for KGB People. It certainly throws some interesting light on the subject of identity theft.

For example you may be as staggered as I was to discover that the annual cost of identity theft in the U.S. alone is $221 billion and that 10% of Americans have at some time been a victim of this crime resulting in an average loss of approximately $5,000. Apparently 64% of Americans now say that they are fearful of becoming victims of identity theft and in 2009, 11.1 million Americans were indeed victims of it.

Another statistic that may surprise you is that around 50% of victims of identity theft discover this within 3 months but 15% don’t find out for 4 years or more. Among the most common methods of stealing identities are skimming from store transactions, paper mail theft and hacking computer networks. There really is tons more information including the time it takes to repair the damage caused by identity theft and also how to protect yourself against identity theft so to check out the full details head to the Mashable link above.

If you want to find out more about whether you should be worried about online identity theft then an article by Matt Warman on The Telegraph might interest you, which points out that common sense is probably the most important thing to remember when giving out information online. Have you ever been the victim of identity theft? We’d be interested to hear from you so please send us your comments.