Since 2008, 11.7 million people in the United States, 16 year of age or older, were victims of identity theft
, according to recently released numbers by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Those affected by the security breach were estimated to have lost more than $17 billion as a result. The majority of the victims, 6.2 million, found that someone had illegally used their credit cards and 4.4 million reported an unauthorized person attempting to gain access to their bank accounts.
According to the bureau, identity thieves don't discriminate when choosing their victims. Men and women were equally likely to experience identity theft
, but a greater percentage of persons ages 16 to 24 (6 percent) were victims of at least one type of identity theft
than persons age 65 or older (3.7 percent). Persons living in households with an income of $75,000 or more were more likely to experience identity theft
(7 percent) than persons in households with lower incomes. Victims have been reporting thefts all over the country, stressing the need for identity verification for both businesses and individuals. The Sun News reports that a resident in Brunswick Hills, Ohio, told police that someone had used his credit card to make a $700 purchase without his consent.