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Identity Theft and Fraud Victimization: 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 by the Center for Victim Research (CVR) summarizes knowledge on victimization and victim services related to a range of identity-related and non-identity related frauds.


As used in this report, “fraud” refers to 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. This review focuses on crime victims in the United States that could be domestic or transnational in scope. “Identity fraud” is a subcategory in which personally identifying information or credentials of others (such as social security number, birthdate, credit card, or online account passwords) are used without authorization. In this report, CVR refers to circumstances of identity-related fraudulent activity as “identity fraud.” Identity theft that lacks an element of fraud is not within the scope of this review. The report indicates that each year millions of people in the United States are victims of identity theft, identity fraud, and other types of fraud, knowingly or unknowingly. The adverse consequences of such fraud are not only financial, but can include legal complications, damaged relationships, physical and mental health issues, and trauma response similar to victims of violent crime. Few research studies have examined which responses are most effective in relieving harm and preventing revictimization; however, such research is increasing.  Educational programs are the interventions most supported by research in preventing identity fraud and other fraud victimization. More specialized services are needed for victims of various types of fraud and victim needs. 129 references  

Date Published: August 1, 2019