79% of U.S. Citizens Concerned About Identity Theft Yet Just 12% Enrolled in An Identity Theft Protection Program

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Friday, December 17, 2010 - Norwalk, CT

Average Cost of Identity Theft Is $4,841 per Person; Typical Identity Theft Protection Costs About $250 per Year

A November 2010 study revealed that 79% of Americans are at least somewhat concerned about identity theft, and 42% are very or extremely concerned. However, only 12% are enrolled in an identity theft protection program. Further analysis revealed that identity theft costs the average victim $4,841 per violation, but identity protection services cost around $250 per year. The results are part of the 2010 U.S. Consumer Study, which surveyed 1,000 Americans on Identity Theft, commissioned by IdentityHawk and fielded by Survey Sampling International.*

The Cost

In its 2010 The Javelin Annual Identity Protection Services Scorecard, Javelin Strategy & Research reported that in 2009, 11.1 million people were victims of identity theft, at a cost of $54 billion to businesses and individuals. On a per-person basis, the cost was $4,841. The The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), in its 2009 Victim Aftermath Study, revealed that the average out-of-pocket cost to the citizens who are identity theft victims is $527.

According to Phil Sandler, spokesperson for IdentityHawk, "Beyond out-of-pocket costs, people have to spend a huge amount of time just regaining and reclaiming their identity."

According to the ITRC, victims reported spending an average of 68 hours repairing the damage done by identity theft to an existing account used or taken over by the thief, and in cases where a new account, criminal, governmental, or a combination of several situations were involved, respondents reported spending an average of 141 hours to clean up the fraud. Further reports indicate it can take 330 hours to restore a person's identity.

The IdentityHawk study also revealed that 38 million U.S. citizens (or 12.5% of the population) report that they've been victims of identity theft in their lifetime.

Where Identities Are Stolen

It was also reported in the 2010 The Javelin Annual Identity Protection Services Scorecard that most data breaches don't occur online, but rather from stolen/lost wallets.

Lost or stolen wallets 43%
While conducting a transaction 19%
Friendly theft 13%
Online 11%
Data breach 11%
Stolen paper/mail 3%
Other 1%


The IdentityHawk study revealed the most common precautions Americans take to prevent identity theft:

Action     % of respondents
Always pick up receipts     68%
Anti-virus/anti-spyware     67%
Review bank/credit card statements     66"%
Shred mail with personal information     56%
Pick strong passwords     50%
Shred pre-approved offers     49%
Carry only necessary ID     45%
Use secure mailboxes     32%
Don't input personal info online     22%
Don't shop online     15%
Enrolled in ID theft protection program     12%


Added Sandler, "Clearly, while physical theft is the number-one way people lose their identity, it takes a vigilant system to find unusual activity that helps people detect identity theft and fraud. Most people find out when it's too late. People need immediate alerts when there's suspicious activity regarding their accounts."

*The data for the U.S. Consumer Study on Identity Theft was collected through Survey Sampling International in Shelton, Connecticut. Results have a margin of error +/- 5%.

About IdentityHawk®
IdentityHawk® help consumers safeguard their assets, their properties, and their good names. Through its suite of protective benefits, IdentityHawk® members can view the health of their identity protection, identify areas where they're most at risk, and take proactive steps to reduce those risks. IdentityHawk® members receive instant e-mail or text alerts whenever a potential risk is uncovered. Whether it's the unauthorized use of a member's personal information or a data breach that could potentially affect a wide range of the general population, IdentityHawk® informs its members about the latest threats to their identity as quickly as electronically possible. All information that our members provide is protected by state-of-the-art SSL encryption safeguards. For more information, go to  www.identityhawk.com.

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