The Federal Trade Commission says a new analysis concludes eight-point-three million Americans over 18 were victims of identity theft in 2005. That's down from nine-point-nine million in 2003.
But consumer advocates are not convinced the numbers are accurate.
One problem in getting accurate information about identity theft is that most consumers don't know it when their personal information is compromised. And the FTC acknowledges that its identity-theft survey involved such a small sample that the results are not "statistically significant."
Still, there's agreement that ID theft is a monumental problem. One research firm says it cost American businesses 55 billion dollars in 2006. And the FTC estimates the cost to consumers last year came to 1.2 billion dollars.