The 2012 Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming the New Fraud Frontier, released by Javelin Strategy & Research, reports that in 2011 identity fraud increased by 13 percent. More than 11.6 million adults became a victim of identity fraud in the United States, while the dollar amount stolen held steady.

Approximately 1.4 million more adults were victimized by identity fraud in 2011, compared to 2010. Countering this rise is the successful effort to combat identity fraud coupled with greater consumer awareness of the issue. While the number of fraud incidents increased, the total amount lost remained steady.

One of the key factors potentially contributing to the increase in incidents was the significant rise in data breaches. The survey found 15 percent of Americans, or about 36 million people, were notified of a data breach in 2011. Consumers receiving a data breach notification were 9.5 times more likely to become a victim of identify fraud.

According to the survey the three most common items exposed during a data breach are:

— Credit card number

— Debit card number

— Social Security number

What Are the Latest Identity Theft Statistics?

Here are some eye-opening statistics:

•           500 million—the number of consumers from 2005 to 2009 whose personal and financial data has been exposed as a result of corporate data breaches—events the victims cannot control despite taking personal safety measures

•           400%—victims who found out about their identity theft more than six months after it happened incurred costs four times higher than the average

•           165 hours—the average amount of time victims spent repairing the damage done by creation of new fraudulent accounts

•           58 hours—the average amount of time victims spent repairing the damage done to existing accounts

•           43%—the percentage of identity theft occurring from stolen wallets, check-books, credit cards, billing statements, or other physical documents

•           1 in 4—number of American adults who have been notified by a business or checkbooks, credit cards, billing statements, or other physical documents

•           Once every three seconds—how often an identity is stolen

The most efficient way to protect your identity is with an identity theft protection service and get a credit freeze.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. Disclosures.

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