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Identity Theft Survey Report 2003 - The Costs of ID Theft. Quick Discovery.

The cost of an incident of ID Theft is significantly smaller if the misuse of the victim’s personal information is discovered quickly. When the misuse was discovered within 5 months of its onset, the value obtained by the thief was less than $5,000 in 82 percent of cases (including all forms of ID Theft). When victims took 6 months or more to discover that their information was being misused, the thief obtained $5,000 or more in 44 percent of cases.
The costs to the victim – both in terms of out-of-pocket expense and in time spent resolving problems – are also substantially smaller if the misuse is discovered quickly. No out-of-pocket expenses were incurred by 67 percent of those who discovered the misuse of their personal information within 5 months of the time the misuse began. Where it took 6 months or more to discover the misuse, only 40 percent of victims incurred no out-of-pocket expenses.
New accounts were opened in less than 10 percent of cases when it took victims less than a month to discover that their information was being misused. New accounts were opened in 45 percent of cases when 6 months or more elapsed before the misuse was discovered. At least in part, this result may reflect the fact that quickly discovering that a new account has been created in a person’s name may be more difficult than discovering that an existing account is being misused. It may also suggest the likelihood that quick discovery reduces the risk that new accounts will be opened.
In terms of the amount of time spent resolving problems, 76 percent of victims who discovered the misuse of their information within one month spent fewer than 10 hours resolving their problems, while in only 20 percent of cases where it took more than 6 months to discover the misuse were victims able to resolve all of their problems in less than 10 hours.
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