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Identity Theft: It's Nothing Personal

Private data isn't usually stolen by people you know
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2007 11:23 AM CDT
Identity Theft: It's Nothing Personal
COCOA, FL-- Cynthia Millwood, right, and her daughter Ruth Millwood Wilburn, left, sort through piles of mail relating to their identity theft case that they have been dealing with at their home in Co   (KRT Photos)

(Newser) – A new study debunks the myth that most identity theft is perpetrated by people known to the victim. The federally funded research looked at more than 500 identity theft arrests made by the Secret Service from 2000 to 2006. Only 8% involved relatives or acquaintances of the victim. "The role of strangers -- that's different than what's been reported until now," says lead scientist Gary Gordon.

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40% of the cases involved a stolen wallet, 37% involved "technology devices," and 20% "non-technological means," a category including mail theft and dumpster diving, the LA Times reports. "The data shows a wide range of ways personal identifier information can be stolen," says Gordon. (Read more identity theft stories.)

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