Criminals in the U.S. and around the world defraud millions of people each year. They combine new technology with old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information.
More than 17 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2014, about seven percent of the U.S. population age 16 or older. The majority of these identity theft victims experienced the fraudulent use of existing account information, such as credit card or bank account information.
The Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) is a secure online database of millions of consumer complaints available only to law enforcement. Of the more than 3 million complaints received by the CSN during calendar year 2015, 40% were fraud complaints and 16% were identity theft complaints.
Research shows that victims of fraud come from all education levels and socioeconomic backgrounds. There is no single profile of a victim of financial fraud, and there is no level of intelligence that can prevent a person from being victimized. Everyone is at risk.
To help improve and expand services to victims, the Office for Victims of Crime created the ID Theft Toolkit for victim advocates, attorneys, law enforcement, and others involved in assisting victims. Additionally, through IdentityTheft.gov, the Federal Trade Commission has eased the way people report identity theft and provided for quick access to recovery resources.
Additionally, the Internet Crime Complaint Center receives, develops, and refers complaints regarding the rapidly expanding area of cybercrime. For law enforcement and regulatory agencies, this center is the central clearinghouse for complaints on internet related crimes. And for victims, the site provides a convenient, easily accessible, online reporting mechanism to alert law enforcement of suspected fraudulent activities.