Some 3.6 million US households, or about 3% of the total in the US, fell victim to identity theft during a six-month period in 2004, a Justice Department report, quoted by an AFP report said.
The report said the study, released by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, was based on interviews conducted from July through December 2004.
Households headed by young people (18-24 years old), those in urban or suburban areas, and those with annual incomes of $75,000 or more were the most likely to experience identity theft, the study said.
About a third of households that were identity theft victims discovered the loss by noticing missing money or unfamiliar charges on an account, and about a one-quarter were contacted by a credit bureau, it said.
The study further said the estimated loss during the six-month period was about $3.2 billion or an average loss of $1,290.
The victims reported other problems related to identity theft, with one-third being contacted by a debt collector and nearly the same amount having problems with bank accounts, while some 26% experienced problems with their credit cards.