ID theft hits 10m Americans a year

Monday, 8 September 2003, 1:48 PM EST

A staggering 27.3 million Americans have been victims of identity theft in the last five years, according to Federal Trade Commission survey out this week. In the last year alone, 9.9 million people have had their identity purloined.

Identity theft cost businesses and financial institutions nearly $48 billion and consumer victims reported $5 billion in out-of-pocket expenses last year, according to the FTC.

"Identity theft is affecting millions of consumers and costing billions of dollars," said Howard Beales, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "This information can serve to galvanize federal, state, and local law enforcers, the business community, and consumers to work together to combat this menace."

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