US identity theft losses fall

US identity theft losses fall

The number of US consumer suffering fraud losses from ID theft dropped for the first time in 2006, according to a third annual study conducted by Javelin Strategy and Research.

According to the research, sponsored by Wells Fargo, Visa and CheckFree, 8.4 million adult Americans, or one in 27, learned last year that criminals committed fraud with stolen personal data, down from 8.9 million in 2005 and 10.1 million in 2003.

"Businesses are doing a better job screening, and consumers are doing better at locking up information and monitoring their accounts," says James Van Dyke, founder and president of the California-based research house. "The dollar amount is dropping, but $49 billion is still a lot of money."

Results were based on a phone survey of 5,006 people, including 469 who said they were fraud victims.

In January, retailer TJX reported a security breach that may have exposed millions of people’s personal data, forcing some banks to re-issue cards to affected consumers

Says Van Dyke: "We think consumers need improved ability to monitor and customise account information, especially as transactions move increasingly to the Internet and mobile devices."

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