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Kim Johnson ReportingIdentify theft -- we've been hearing the personal, nightmarish stories from victims for years. But today we're getting a picture of the enormity of this modern-day form of piracy.
It's a far bigger problem than the government thought. The Federal Trade Commission released its first comprehensive survey on identify theft today. Authorities say we should all be frightened, or at least seriously concerned over the results.
The FTC’s survey shows the country's fastest growing crime took a staggering leap last year. Thieves stole personal information from nearly 10-million people. The crimes cost businesses and financial institutions almost $48 billion. The average individual victim lost more than $1100. In Utah that amount jumped to more than $1300.
But investigators say victims were robbed of perhaps of another precious commodity, their time.
Bill Fossmo, Utah Attorney General's Office: “It takes 175 hours for the victim of identity fraud to untangle the mess.”
It's an easy crime for crooks to commit, and to get away with. Authorities say most perpetrators are stealing and then selling personal information for drug money. Only two percent of cases will ever be cleared with an arrest or a prosecution because law enforcement is overwhelmed with cases.