Identity thieves cheat 27 million in United States

Thursday, 4 September 2003, 7:48 PM EST

About 27.3 million U.S. residents have been victims of identity theft in the past five years, according to a Federal Trade Commission survey, but it's unclear how many of those crimes occurred through technological means such as the Internet.

The FTC estimates that 9.9 million U.S. residents have been victims of identify theft during the past year. Businesses and financial institutions lost $48 billion during that time, while consumer victims report $5 billion in out-of-pocket expenses. The phone survey of more than 4000 adults in March and April is the government's first comprehensive attempt to determine the number of victims and the cost of identity theft.

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