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Identity Theft : Home

A research guide on identity theft and cyber security theft prevention.

Identity Theft Definition

i·den·ti·ty theft
noun: identity theft; plural noun: identity thefts
  1. the fraudulent acquisition and use of a person's private identifying information, usually for financial gain.

Cyber Securtiy Definition

noun: cybersecurity
the state of being protected against the criminal or unauthorized use of electronic data, or the measures taken to achieve this.

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ID Theft and Cybercrimes



The 2017 Identity Fraud Study, released by Javelin Strategy & Research, found that $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016, compared with $15.3 billion and 13.1 million victims a year earlier. In the past six years identity thieves have stolen over $107 billion.

Following the introduction of microchip equipped credit cards in 2015 in the United States, which make the cards difficult to counterfeit, criminals focused on new account fraud. New account fraud occurs when a thief opens a credit card or other financial account using a victim’s name and other stolen personal information.


The Consumer Sentinel Network, maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), tracks consumer fraud and identity theft complaints that have been filed with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and private organizations. Of the 3.1 million complaints received in 2015, 16 percent were related to identity theft.  Identity theft complaints increased by more than 47 percent from 2014, they were the second most reported after illegal debt collection. The FTC identifies 30 types of complaints. In 2015 debt collection complaints displaced identity theft in the top spot among complaint categories for the first time in 16 years, due in large part to a surge in complaints related to unwanted debt collection mobile phone calls.

Identity Theft And Fraud Complaints, 2012-2015 (1)

(1) Percentages are based on the total number of Consumer Sentinel Network complaints by calendar year. These figures exclude "Do Not Call" registry complaints.

Source: Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Sentinel Network.