Identity theft rockets 80 per cent

Thursday, 24 July 2003, 1:26 AM EST

Identity theft in the US has leapt by 79 per cent over the last year, with only a one in 700 chance of thieves being caught, industry watchers have warned.

According to analyst firm Gartner, seven million American adults - 3.4 per cent of all US consumers - were victims of identity theft during the 12 months ending June 2003.

"Identity theft is not necessarily a high-tech crime, and can just as easily damage the credit reputations of low-tech adults who don't spend any time on the internet," said Avivah Litan, vice president and research director for Gartner.

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