Identity Theft

June 10, 2005 • Volume 15, Issue 22
Can Congress give Americans better protection?
By Peter Katel


A U.S. Postal Service poster is part of a nationwide campaign urging consumers to guard against identity thieves.  (U.S. Postal Service)
A U.S. Postal Service poster is part of a nationwide campaign urging consumers to guard against identity thieves. (U.S. Postal Service)

Assembling a new identity used to be the specialty of spies and master criminals. Now, ordinary crooks are acquiring consumers' personal information — Social Security numbers, addresses, mother's maiden names and other data — and opening new accounts in other peoples' names. Nearly 10 million consumers are affected annually by lost or stolen data at a cost to the economy of $53 billion. Moreover, victims spend almost 300 million hours a year trying to clear their names and re-establish good credit ratings. Congress and state legislatures are looking at ways to stop identity theft, but financial and data-collection companies argue any solutions that slow down the business of buying and selling personal data would hurt the economy. Meanwhile, in the biggest in a series of recent security breaches, Citigroup announced on June 6 that computer tapes containing personal data on 3.9 million consumers were missing.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Feb. 26, 2016  Virtual Reality
Feb. 12, 2016  Video Games and Learning
Jan. 15, 2016  The Dark Web
Feb. 15, 2013  Improving Cybersecurity
Apr. 13, 2012  Internet Regulation
Sep. 16, 2011  Computer Hacking
Sep. 24, 2010  Impact of the Internet on Thinking
Feb. 26, 2010  Cybersecurity
Aug. 01, 2008  Internet Accuracy
May 02, 2008  Cyberbullying
Jul. 28, 2006  Cyber Socializing
May 12, 2006  Controlling the Internet
Jun. 10, 2005  Identity Theft
Sep. 17, 2004  Cyberpolitics
Sep. 26, 2003  Cybersecurity
Apr. 12, 2002  Cyber-Crime
Oct. 27, 2000  Computers and Medicine
May 26, 2000  Future of Computers
Jan. 28, 2000  The Digital Divide
Feb. 05, 1999  Digital Commerce
Jun. 30, 1995  Regulating the Internet
May 21, 1993  Software Piracy
Sep. 30, 1988  Management's High-Tech Challenge
Jan. 09, 1987  Power Surge in Personal Computers
Feb. 13, 1981  The Computer Age
Nov. 03, 1978  America's Information Boom
Jan. 06, 1978  Computer Crime
May 12, 1971  Reappraisal of Computers
Jul. 25, 1962  Approach to Thinking Machines
Computers and the Internet
Consumer Credit and Debt
Crime and Law Enforcement

Suggest a topic here.

Type the characters you see below into the box

Take our survey to help us improve CQ Researcher!

Feedback survey