Consumers and businesses may want to employ additional ID verification
measures, as a new report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows an estimated 8.6 million U.S. households had at least one person who was victimized by identity theft in 2010. That figure marks a 33 percent rise over the 6.4 million households that reported the same in 2005.
"Identity theft is the unauthorized use or attempted use of an existing credit card or another type of existing account, the unauthorized use of personal information to open a new account or for another fraudulent purpose, or a combination of these," the agency explained in a statement.
Misuse of credit cards also rose over the same period, with cases expanding from 3.6 million to 5.5 million from 2005 to 2010.
Total direct losses due to ID theft and victimization reached $13.3 billion last year, the BJS reported. However, the number of households suffering losses from identity theft declined over the study period. Nearly one-quarter of targeted households did not face financial losses, up from nearly 19 percent in 2005.