U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

What We Know About Identity Theft and Fraud Victims From Research- and Practice-Based Evidence

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2019
36 pages
This report summarizes the findings from research and practice on victimization due to identity theft and fraud, and it identifies research gaps that should be filled in order to improve the nation's response to identity fraud and other fraud victimization.
This research review defines fraud as "crimes in which deceptive or false acts are committed for personal, typically financial, gain through misrepresentation of self and/or promises of goods, services, or financial benefits that do not exist, were never intended to be provided, or were misrepresented." Identity fraud is a subcategory in which personally identifying information or credentials of others are used without authorization. This research review focuses on U.S.-based victims of fraud crimes that could be domestic or transnational. The research review indicates that millions of Americans are victimized by identity fraud and other fraud each year. The most common types of identity fraud are credit card fraud, employment/tax fraud, and utilities fraud. Identity fraud and other fraud can impact people of all backgrounds and circumstances; however, income, age, language, and ability status are some factors that increase victimization risk for certain types of fraud. Although some fraud victims experience minimal financial losses that are quickly resolved, others experience extensive financial losses that may never be recovered. Indirect financial losses can include lowered credit, legal fees, and lost employment opportunities. Emotional and physical health problems can also affect fraud victims. Research shows that evidence-based educational programs are the most effective preventive intervention; however, more program evaluations are needed to determine which responses to fraud victims are the most effective in addressing specific needs. 128 references

Date Published: August 1, 2019