The most vulnerable victims of identity theft are the people whose personal financial information is stolen. For them, identity theft can wreak havoc with their lives, even though federal and state laws limit their liability for charges made in their name that they can prove were fraudulent.
But proving that kind of fraud by anonymous, invisible thieves who commit most of their crimes electronically is a difficult task. And individuals are usually on their own in trying to repair the damages from identity theft. The San Diego-based Identity Theft Resource Center estimates that it takes the average person 175 hours and $800 to repair the mess caused by an instance of identity theft. Under current federal and state laws, individuals have little recourse to seek damages for their losses.