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Identity theft - it's going to get worse, not better

A leading security expert has admitted (opens in new tab)that the problem of identity theft is going to get worse before it gets better. At least in the US.

The problem, says Robert Siciliano (opens in new tab), is the rising level of illegal immigration in the US and a growing Methamphetamine problem.

Speaking at Beuna High School in Sierra Vista, Arizona, earlier this week, the fraud specialist said that, despite the rising level of identity theft, citizens can still protect themselves.

The biggest hurdle, he admitted, is education and awareness, although he added that around 10 million people in the US were affected by the problem of identity theft last year, losing around $48 billion to businesses and financial institutions.

According to Siciliano, around $6,700 is obtained on average from each victim, who will then go on to incur about $1,100 in out-of-pocket expenses, spending an average of 175 hours cleaning up the mess on their personal records. And, he said, 25 per cent of victims never ever fully clear their name.

The FBI, he said, reckons that 20 per cent of criminals use stolen identities to commit telephone or utility fraud, 13 per cent to access or create bank accounts, 9 per cent to gain employment, 7 per cent to obtain loans, and 6 per cent to obtain documents such as a drivers' licence, Social Security card or US government benefits...