Study Gives Insight Into Identity Theft

    October 25, 2007

The Center for Identity Management and Information Protection (CIMIP) has released the first -ever study of closed United States Secret Service cases dealing with identity theft.

Organized group activity took place in 42 percent of the cases, involving 2-45 offenders. In about half of those cases the Internet was used to commit the crime.  Just 20 percent of the cases involved non-technological methods for identity theft such as dumpster diving or change of address.

More than a third of the victims were financial institutions such as banks, credit unions and credit card companies. Individuals were victims 34 percent of the time and 59 percent of the victims did not know the offenders.  Only 5 percent of the victims were related to the offender.

Of the offenders 42 percent were between the ages of 25-34 and 18 percent were between the ages of 18 and 24. Just 6 percent were over the age of 50. Out of 933 identity thieves 53 percent were black. White offenders were the next largest group at 38 percent followed by Hispanics at 4 percent and Asians at 3 percent.

"Having access to these closed files for purposes of studying identity theft should prove invaluable to law enforcement officials and policy makers," said Gary Gordon, founder and Executive Director of the Center for Identity Management and Information Protection, as well as the Economic Crime Institute (ECI) at Utica College.

"These findings shed new light on how identity theft related crimes take place, what motivates the perpetrators, and who is being victimized, and dispels some common myths about identity theft.