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The verdict is in from a new Bureau of Justice Statistics report (BJS)—an estimated 17.6 million Americans dealt with some kind of Identity theft last year. That's the bad news. But the good news is that those numbers are on par with 2012, so hackers have not gained much ground.
While identity theft can mean anything from having your credit or debit card account hacked, to someone dipping into your bank account. It can also mean having your information used to get government benefits or during the commission of a crime. But in the end, the most common kind of cybercrime was hacking into credit card or bank accounts, with 16.4 million people having to deal with its aftermath.
People whose identities are stolen can experience several kinds of bank or credit card fraud, each one coming along with a different set of issues. The BJS found that an estimated 8.6 million people had their credit card accounts hacked or their number stolen last year, while hackers tried to or actually access the bank accounts of 8.1 million, meaning getting into their checking, savings and other kinds of accounts.
Another 1.5 million people found that their online, insurance account or telephone accounts were hacked.
Finding out the hard way
How did they find out they've been hacked? Most of the time they had no idea their personal information was stolen or hacked until the bank gave them a heads up, with 45% finding out this way. Eighteen percent discovered the fraudulent charges on their statement.
While a few knew their hacker, for the most part this was not the case, with 9 out of 10 having no idea how it happened or who hacked them.
Hacking can mean taking a financial hit, and for two-thirds of victims, that is exactly what happened. Who lost the most money? According to the report, people who had a new account opened in their name by someone else incurred greater losses than those whose credit or debit card accounts were hacked.
The bottom line--roughly 14% had to deal with an out-of-pocket loss of some sort, with half of them losing under $100, while another 14 % took a very real hit taking on losses of $1,000 or more.
Taking care of fraud
If you haven't been hacked, you might be wondering how much time it takes to resolve these issues, and for more than half (52%) it took a day or less to get everything straightened out. But for 9% it was not so easy and took a month or more.
People whose issues took longer to sort out often ended up having to also deal with collateral damage, which included navigating work problems, issues in their personal relationships and being emotionally stressed out.
When it came to filing a police report only one in 10 went to the police station. Instead most (87%) called their bank or credit card company, and 8% dialed the credit bureau.