The total cost to U.S. victims of identity theft is estimated to be a staggering $17 Billion dollars, according to a report issued by The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).
The monumental sum includes direct losses to fraudsters and out-of-pocket costs in the aftermath of an incident.
The data is based on a 2008 survey of 56,000 people aged 16 years and older, and found that 5% had been impacted by an identity theft event.
The BJS estimates a total of 11.7 million Americans have suffered average losses of $1870, with a median loss of about $200.
Credit card fraud was listed as the most common tactic affecting victims, followed by incidents involving banks accounts via bank cards or checks.
The report found that only 40% were aware that they had been victims, with about 6% falling into the 16 to 14 year old age group, almost twice that of seniors over 65 years of age.
The report indicates this is probably due to the fact that younger people are more apt to use technologies being exploited by fraudsters.