WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Big data breaches of identity theft increased nearly 20 percent from last year and more than 10 million cases of Americans’ personal records being exposed or published have already been reported in 2014 – making it the most common consumer complaint in the U.S.
A cybercrime research report published last week from the Identity Theft Resource Center shows there were 368 big data breaches of identity theft in addition to more than 10.7 million reported cases of personal information – ranging from medical records to credit card scams – being exposed in the past year.
The continuing increase in identity theft crimes – when someone fraudulently uses personal data to access anything from a person’s bank account to tricking law enforcement – is a crime that the U.S. Justice Department shows as nearly triple that of all other non-fatal violent crimes in the country, CBS News reports. According to The Bureau of Justice Statistics, 16.6 million American adults were victims of identity theft in 2012, while just 6.8 million total non-fatal violent crimes occurred in the same period.
The same Justice Department report from December 2013 revealed that more than 34.2 million U.S. adults – 14 percent of all Americans over the age of 16 – had experienced some type of identity theft.
The 368 big data and millions of personal data breaches range from hospitals, Medicaid users, credit card users, and colleges reporting some type of personal records finding their way into the wrong hands.
The number of reported identity fraud victims peaked in 2009 at 13.9 million, according to a Javelin report. But the number of fraud cases has steadily risen to 13.1 million victims, or one reported fraud case every two seconds.
Florida, Georgia, California, Michigan and Nevada had the highest amount of per-capita identity theft complaints, according to the Federal Trade Commission. At 14 percent, identity theft outpaced debt collection, banks and lenders, imposter scams and telephone and mobile services as the top U.S. consumer complaint.
And while only 14 percent of identity theft victims were hit with out-of-pocket financial losses, legal fees, bounced checks and other indirect costs push that number up to 68 percent losing money to identity thieves.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics also notes that people have no idea who is pulling the identity fraud: nine out of 10 cases reported that they know nothing of the identity thieves’ identity.