About the time it takes to read this sentence, another three people have become victims of identity theft.
A victim is created every two seconds, according to a new survey by Javelin Strategy & Research Study.
The California-based research group reported some troublesome statistics:
The number of ID theft victims last year reached 13.1 million, up by more than 500,000 from the previous year. And more than one of four cases involved "account takeover fraud."
And what are thieves doing with other people's identities? They increasingly use the information to go shopping via eBay, Amazon and PayPal, Javelin says.
One bright note: Consumers, retailers and financial institutions are getting better at fighting the theft, Javelin says. Thieves made away with $18 billion last year - $3 billion less than the year before.
"Consumers and businesses cannot let up the effort," Al Pascual, a senior analyst with Javelin said in a statement. "Our study found that criminals are adapting their approach to focus on account takeover and they are effective at using the information they secure from data breaches. Any complacency will provide fraudsters renewed opportunities."
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