Self-report survey responses, collected through the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), are the BJS primary source of information on identity theft and financial fraud.
The definition of identity theft in the NCVS includes three general types of incidents:
- unauthorized use or attempted use of an existing account
- unauthorized use or attempted use of personal information to open a new account
- misuse of personal information for a fraudulent purpose.
Reports examining identity theft victimization at the person level use data from the Identity Theft Supplement (ITS) to the NCVS. The supplement collects data from all NCVS respondents age 16 or older about experiences with identity theft.
Reports examining identity theft victimization at the household level use data from the core NCVS, in which the head of the household reports on the experiences with identity theft of all household members age 12 or older.
The Supplemental Fraud Survey (SFS) collects individual-level data on the prevalence of seven types of personal financial fraud victimization, the characteristics of financial fraud victims, and the patterns of reporting to police and other authorities.
The Identity Theft Supplement (ITS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) captures person-level information on identity theft against persons age 16 or older.
The most recent information we have available on identity theft can be found within the Victims of Identity Theft series.
Terms & Definitions
In the National Crime Victimization Survey's Supplemental Fraud Survey, financial fraud is defined as acts that “intentionally and knowingly deceive the victim by misrepresenting, concealing, or omitting facts about promised goods, services, or other benefits and consequences that are nonexistent, unnecessary, never intended to be provided, or deliberately distorted for the purpose of monetary gain.” (See Stanford Center on Longevity. (2015). Framework for a taxonomy of fraud. https://longevity.stanford.edu/framework-for-a-taxonomy-of-fraud/)