The 1990s saw the advent of a new kind of crime: identity theft - obtaining an individual's personal information and using it without permission to commit a fraud or theft. Between 2002 and 2003, identity theft complaints filed by Minnesotans increased 34 percent. The top three types of identity theft, based on 2003 complaints, are credit card fraud (34 percent), bank fraud (26 percent), and phone or utility fraud (18 percent).
This survey explores opinions and experiences of Minnesota residents age 18 and older regarding identity theft. Of those surveyed...
- 23 percent have been - or know someone who has been - a victim of identity theft
- 95 percent say that Social Security numbers should not be used as an identifier for general purposes
- 74 percent favor changing temporary handicap car stickers to not include people's drivers license numbers in order to protect their identity
Almost all of those surveyed feel it is important for Minnesota to strengthen laws and regulations to protect consumers from identity theft by...
- requiring businesses to notify their customers when customer information may have been stolen or compromised (97 percent)
- stiffening penalties for repeat offenders of identity theft (97 percent)
- giving identity theft victims a formal legal mechanism for clearing their names (91 percent)
- enabling individuals to place a security freeze on credit reports (88 percent)
This telephone survey was conducted between March 25 and April 6, 2004 with a random sample of 801 age 18+ Minnesotans, as well as an oversample of 200 Minnesotans who are 50 and older. All of the Survey respondents are self-identified registered voters. The report was prepared by Susan L. Silberman, Ph.D., of AARP Knowledge Management who may be contacted at 202/434-6339 for further information. (26 pages)