Justice Resource Update, NCJRS: Connecting You to Justice Information

Resources for Fighting Identity Theft

Regina B. Schofield

emptyData from the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP’s) Bureau of Justice Statistics tell us that some 3.6 million American households experienced identity theft during a single 6-month period in 2004. Moreover, the most recent national survey from the Federal Trade Commission found that almost 10 million people were victims of identity theft during the course of a year. Victims reported losing $5 billion in out-of-pocket expenses, while losses to businesses and financial institutions totaled almost $48 billion.

The victims of identity theft are citizens who have had bank accounts wiped out, credit histories ruined, and jobs and valuable possessions taken away. In some cases, they have even been arrested for crimes they did not commit. The financial toll exacted by identity theft can be crippling, and the emotional trauma can be as devastating as many of the most violent offenses. Far from being a victimless crime, identity theft has profound and often tragic consequences for those affected by it.more icon

Regina B. Schofield is the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, a component of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Spring 2006

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