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Fraud and Identity Theft Stats
General Information and Stats

  • Fraud affects all of us, because we are all consumers and companies pass on fraud losses to consumers.
  • Victims of fraud are neither naive nor unintelligent.  Many are doctors, lawyers and college professors.  Callers scam them by claiming to be from the IRS, the FBI, the bank or the hospital.

  • Identity theft is taking someone else’s personal information (such as, a driver license or identification card number, social security number, bank or credit card account numbers, etc.)

    An impostor can use your identity to open fraudulent credit accounts, secure loans for cars and housing, or steal money from your bank accounts. It is a serious crime with serious consequences.

  • Those who commit fraud against us are almost always those whom we have the most confidence in.  The word “con” comes from the word “confidence.”  
  • The Fraud Triangle.  Fraud usually occurs when the person committing the fraud may perceive the following 3 things coming together—called the Fraud Triangle.
1)  Pressure (usually financial)
2)  Opportunity (to commit fraud without getting caught)
3)  Rationalization (of dishonest behavior)  
  • Older Americans are targeted heavily, because they are trusting and have accumulated sizable retirement nest eggs.  Seniors may be slightly easier to target because they listen politely and don't interrupt. 
  • The biggest age group who commit fraud are between the ages of 36 and 45, because that is the age when most people have both the greatest pressures (kids entering college, mortgages, car payments, etc.), and opportunities in their career where they have access to commit fraud.
  • Many commit fraud out of greed or getting something they have not paid for.
  • Fraud often results from financial needs due to a family tragedy, high medical bills, or personal loss causing pressure.
  • Remember— Identity theft is often perpetrated by people known to the victims.  

  • 1 in 14 Americans fell prey to identify theft in 2012, according to the government.  A national household survey of 70,000 people shows identity theft resulted in nearly $25 billion in losses.  It is a crime that takes a heavy emotional toll on many of its victims.  For many victims, the size of the loss was eclipsed by concerns that someone had stolen their identity, and that it might take weeks or months to repair the damage.  (1 in 14 Americans hurt by identity theft, Washington, Dec. 13, 2013) 

  • 80% of phone scams occur with people over the age of 65.  (Federal Trade Commission) 

  • In a worldwide economy, the U.S. is only ranked the 16th most honest country in the world; and we have to compete with other countries who are not losing dollars to fraud.  This puts Americans at a great disadvantage.  The U.S. is the largest economy in the world, and yet we are only the 16th most honest. 
What You Can Do
  • Prepare a refusal script, practice it, and keep it where you can refer to it.  "I'm sorry.  This is not a good time.  Thank you for calling."  Click.

  • If identity theft happens to you, contact a Spokane Crime Victim Advocate for assistance, if needed, at: 
Spokane C.O.P.S. - Identity Theft Program
(509) 625-3328
Samantha Purcell, Crime Victim Advocate, Spokane COPS
Contact them to make a presentation on Identify Theft awareness.