Identity Theft 911 released a new report today that finds this problem is reaching epidemic levels in many areas of Texas, which ranks 2nd in the nation for identity theft complaints, according to the most recent Federal Trade Commission statistics.
The investigation also determined that employment-related identity theft, especially when connected to illegal immigration, is the largest single use of stolen identities in the state. The findings include:
- Approximately 880,400 Texans became victims of identity theft in 2007. This is roughly equivalent to every citizen in Austin, Edinburg and Midland having their identities stolen in a single year
- In several South Texas cities, the rate of identity theft victimization is more than twice the national average
- Identity theft cost Texas victims an estimated $435.7 million in 2007
- Texas residents spent a total of 3.5 million hours resolving identity theft issues
“Each year millions of consumers fall victim to different forms of this devastating crime and this report highlights new hot spots and potential reasons for the high numbers in Texas,” said Steve Christenson, President of Identity Theft 911. The report also highlights the leadership role Texans have played in trying to fight identity theft.
“Identity theft and illegal immigration go hand in hand,” said Lt. Mark Elbert of the Brownsville (TX) Police Department. “Some other areas might have a big problem with drugs or robbery… I can tell you that identity theft is the top problem we have.”
“We know we can’t prosecute our way out of this,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says in the report. “We have to educate people about how to protect themselves.”