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Recover Me if You Can: Assessing Services to Victims of Identity Theft

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2020
16 pages

This is the Draft Final Summary Overview of a multi-phase project with the goals of determining the effect and quality of services provided to victims of serious identity crime in the United States, as well as identifying the most effective ways of supporting victims who are currently experiencing the consequences of identity-based crime.


Phase 1 of the study integrated existing data from the Identity Theft Supplement (ITS) administered as part of the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), with exclusive survey data collected in collaboration with the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC). These data were used to assess the impact of identity crime services. After removing all non-serious identity crime incidents (i.e., victims who reported only the misuse of an existing account), the sample for the study was reduced to 6,320 respondents. Three victim groups were designated. A no-treatment group consisted of respondents who did not report the identity crime incident and received no victim services. A treatment-as-usual group consisted of respondents who reported the incident to any one of a variety of entities and received an array of services. The third group consisted of those who reported their victimization to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and received a variety of services tailored to their victimization. The three groups were compared on general problems, financial problems, physical health problems, mental health problems, and social problems. The findings indicate that identity-based crime victims experience significant emotional and physical stress, with the degree of need related to the adverse effects of the type of fraud perpetrated with the stolen information. This suggests that the services needed for identity-theft victims depend on the type of adversity that stems from how the stolen identify information is being used by the offender. 13 references

Date Published: September 1, 2020