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New report shows credit card fraud, identity theft down significantly

February 11, 2011

By Barbara Marquand | Money Rates Columnist

The number of cases of identity theft in the U.S. fell by 3 million in 2010 over the previous year as the total amount of money lost dropped nearly $20 million from the $56 billion lost in 2009.

That was the good news that came from the Javelin Strategy & Research "Identity Fraud Survey Report." The bad news was that the amount of per-victim fraud increased--from $4.607 in 2009 to $4,991 in 2010.

New account fraud, when someone opens a new account in someone else's name--rather than exploiting existing savings accounts or an existing checking account--contributed to the rise in costs.

The results are based on interviews with more than 5,000 adults.

Here are some other key findings from the report prepared by the Pleasanton, Calif., market research firm:

  • The out-of-pocket cost to those who suffered payment card fraud was up, from $387 to $631.
  • Resolving an identity fraud problem took five hours longer, from 21 hours to 26 hours.
  • Credit card fraud accounted for less of the total number of cases (57 percent) than the previous year, but debit-card fraud was up from 26 percent to 36 percent.
  • Nearly 14 percent of the identity theft cases were by family members or acquaintances but the amount stole by them was nearly twice the average--$8,233.

Researchers credited the overall decline to the payment card industry's new data-security standards, but noted that the fraud rate seems to decline when retail sales go up but rises when sales drop.

The decline in the 2010 fraud rate contrasts with the 12 percent jump it experienced between 2008 and 2009.

Although some fraud cases cost consumers up to $50,000, the lion's share of the cost is covered by banks and merchants. The amount of time it took to resolve identify fraud in 2008 was more than 30 hours.

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30 August 2011 at 7:11 am

I have been a victim of card fraud twice and was beginning to feel helpless against the card thieves. No matter how careful I seem to be, somehow my card information gets found. I do not want to carry cash but my cards seemed to expose my accounts to unauthorized charges. I heard about this new card product called a Secure Identity Prepaid Card. It has a security feature that lets you turn your card on and off using your cell phone. You send a text message to activate it before you make a purchase. If your card is ever lost or stolen, the card could not be used. If someone tried to use the card, you would get a text alert telling you the details of where it was used but the charge would not go through. If you wanted to have the purchase go through, you could activate your card and have the merchant swipe it again. This sounds like a very cool concept and I like that I am in control of what transactions can be processed on my card. I plan on using it instead of my bank debit card. I just enrolled for one and I am waiting to get it in the mail. I am very interested to see how this card actually works. At this point, what do I have to lose. I will re-post and let people know how it worked.

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