DMA Applauds FTC Study on ID Theft; Study Indicates Continued Nationwide Decline in ID Theft
November 28, 2007 — The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) commended the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for its release yesterday of a benchmarking survey exploring the extent and effect of identity (ID) theft in the United States. While the survey affirms that ID theft remains a serious threat, DMA notes that the data also reveal that incidents of the crime have decreased by nearly nine percent since the FTC’s 2003 survey.
The FTC’s new survey finds that 8.3 million American adults — or 3.7 percent of all American adults — were victims of identity ID theft in 2005. The FTC conducted a similar telephone survey of consumers in 2003 that found that 9.1 million Americans had been victims of ID theft. That 2003 study was the first national survey to measure the prevalence and cost of ID theft.
Commenting on the FTC’s new survey, DMA Executive Vice President for Government Affairs and Corporate Responsibility Steven K. Berry said, “One case on identity theft is one case too many, but the FTC’s most recent survey results are further evidence that we are moving in the right direction and the marketplace is working. The direct marketing community and other related industries that collect, store, and disseminate sensitive personal data have helped reduce identity theft by creating innovative technologies to assist fraud detection and prevention.”
“ID theft remains a serious concern,” added Berry. “DMA has been strongly advocating for Congress to include in any legislation that seeks to limit the use of Social Security numbers a business-to-business exemption that ensures American businesses have the necessary tools to detect and prevent fraudulent behavior such as identity theft. We need to build on this positive reduction in ID theft and keep working towards solutions that will eliminate this problem.”
In June 2006, DMA partnered with the FTC in its "AvoID Theft" campaign. The goal of the campaign is to provide information to consumers on how they can avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, and what to do if they suspect their personal information is being misused.
To help deliver its “AvoID Theft” message, DMA developed a series of template materials for its member companies. These materials include tips for consumers on how to guard against ID theft and recognize when they might be at risk, as well as the appropriate steps to take if they believe they have become a victim.
The “AvoID Theft” campaign is centered on three key actions — how consumers can:
· Deter identity thieves by safeguarding their personal information.
· Detect suspicious activity by routinely monitoring financial accounts and billing statements.
· Defend against ID theft as soon as a problem is suspected.
Raising public awareness of these three actions — and the steps involved — can make it more difficult for identity thieves to target people. Whether DMA members share this information with 50 people or 50,000, they can make an important difference.
For additional information on the “AvoID Theft” program, please visit www.the-dma.org/idtheft.
To access the FTC’s 108-page report — titled “2006 Identity Theft Survey Report” — visit http://ftc.gov/os/2007/11/SynovateFinalReportIDTheft2006.pdf or simply click here.
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