Identity verification and protection are arguably the two most important factors for consumers' economic viability and security. According to a new report from Javelin, consumers are starting to win the battle against identity thieves. Javelin's survey revealed that identity theft
fell 28 percent between 2009 and 2010 - the biggest decrease in the eight-year history of the survey. The data showed that only 3.5 percent of adult consumers in the U.S. were victims of such a crime, down from 4.8 percent in 2009. Those figures represent a $19 billion decrease in total money defrauded, dropping to $37 billion. That, too, is the lowest such figure since Javelin began its survey. Javelin chief executive officer James Van Dyke says the turnaround in the economy can be attributed to the fall in identity theft
. "In simple terms, when people can't buy as much, they are more motivated to commit identity theft
," Van Dyke told MSNBC.com. "If you took the ugly last two years away, you would see a perfect straight-line decline." However, while the total percentage of identity theft
has declined, the impact per case has increased. Each case yielded a $631 loss for the consumer, up from $387 per case in 2009. Consumers also spent an average of 59 hours restoring accounts resulting from ID theft last year, an 18-hour increase from 2009.