MORE than 210,000 people a year in France are victims of identity theft, a study has shown.
Researchers from a body studying social trends, Credoc, found that 4.2% of people asked had been victims of fraudsters using their details during the last ten years, which translates to the figure above for the population as a whole.
That makes identity theft more common than burglary or having a car stolen, which involve 130,000 and 150,000 people respectively, Credoc said.
The study found the average overall cost from such crimes is €2,229 – including the amount stolen plus time and money spent trying to sort out the resulting problems.
Credoc estimates that identity fraud of all kinds, including costs to public bodies, individuals and insurers is almost €4 billion a year.
After reimbursements from insurers the average cost to victims is €1,1556. However in some cases, researchers said, the consequences were worse – they ended up with an interdit bancaire (a five-year ban on using cheques and sometimes on using cards), some lost jobs or even went to prison.
Half of the victims have no idea how the criminals got their details.
The study was paid for by an American document shredder company. Last year a previous Credoc study showed 80% of household bins contained documents which could be used for identity theft.