Identity thieves tend to be young, male and operating on their own for personal gain. And they steal an average of $31 356.00 from each of their victims.
These are some of the surprise findings of a study of US Secret Service cases on identity theft conducted by the Center for Identity Management and Information Protection at Utica University.
The study, released yesterday, shows that most offenders – 42,5% – are between 25 and 34 years old, with 39% being older and the 18,5% younger.
Only one-third of the offenders was female.
Most offenders – 71% – had no previous criminal history and, of those that do, one-third were previously arrested for fraud, forgery, or identity theft.
Most identity theives were in it for personal gain and used personal information to obtain credit, procure cash, conceal their own identity or apply for motor vehicle loans.
In most cases, identity theft was used to facilitate a further crime, usually fraud, followed by larceny.
The Internet or other technology was only used in about one-half of cases.
An interesting finding is that individuals account for only one-third of the victims in identity theft, with financial institutions being the victims 37,1% of the time, and retail businesses losing money in 21,3% of cases.
When individuals were the victims, they were usually targeted by people they did not know, although 10,5% of the victims were customers of the offendor and 5% were related to the identity thief.
Staff members of the victim organisation were responsible for 20,3% of the cases reported.