Ramblings & ephemera

The difficulty of recovering from identity theft

From TechWeb News’s “One In Four Identity-Theft Victims Never Fully Recover“:

Making things right after a stolen identity can take months and cost thousands, a survey of identity theft victims released Tuesday said. Worse, in more than one in four cases, victims haven’t been able to completely restore their good name.

The survey, conducted by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., found that 28 percent of identity thieves’ marks aren’t able to reconstruct their identities even after more than a year of work. On average, victims spent 81 hours trying to resolve their case.

According to the poll, the average amount of total charges made using a victim’s identity was $3,968. Fortunately, most were not held responsible for the fraudulent charges; 16 percent, however, reported that they had to pay for some or all of the bogus purchases.

Other results posted by the survey were just as dispiriting. More than half of the victims discovered the theft on their own by noticing unusual charges on credit cards or depleted bank accounts, but that took time: on average, five and a half months passed between when the theft occurred and when it was spotted.

Only 17 percent were notified by a creditor or financial institution of suspicious activity, a figure that’s certain to fuel federal lawmakers pondering legislation that would require public disclosure of large data breaches.

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