Report Says There is One New Identity Theft Victim Every 3 Seconds

As major U.S. companies fall victim of a steady campaign of cyber hacking recently linked to the Chinese government, a new report shows consumers are increasingly battling another problem: identity theft.

The Javelin Strategy & Research's 2012 Identity Theft Report shows there was a new victim of identity fraud once every three seconds in 2012. What's more, 1 in 4 consumers who received a data breach notice from a company also became a victim of identity theft.

More than 12 million victims had more than $21 billion stolen over the year, according to the report. 

Breaches involving Social Security numbers were the most damaging to victims, with those who have their number breached 5X more likely to be a victim of fraud than the average consumer.

The total number of identity theft victims for 2012 was 12.6 million, up more than one million since 2011. The dollar amount stolen also increased to $21 billion.

The increase in security breaches has led consumers to be more selective about where they shop. The report found traffic to small businesses is dramatically impacted after a breach, with 15% of all fraud victims deciding to change their behaviors and avoid smaller online merchants.

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