DSG study on Identity Theft Victim Experiences

Partnering with the Identity Theft Resource Center, DSG project director and Senior Scientist Steve Gies, with grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, is leading the first-ever national study on the effects and quality of services provided to victims of identity theft.

DSG is collaborating not he project with leading criminology researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas and ITRC staff to complete the mixed-methods study. In addition to client satisfaction, we’ll be exploring in this 3-year study how identity theft may result in social problems, mental health problems, physical health problems, and financial problems.


Since 2000, the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has been helping victims of identity theft recover their identities. The center also studies the issue and engages in activities to raise public awareness about identity theft. It is one of the few organizations that serves a nationally representative population of victims and maintains long-term relationships with its clients by conducting follow-up activities.

In addition to draining people’s bank accounts and maxing out their credit cards, thieves will use the stolen information to obtain loans and mortgages, apply for jobs, and file fraudulent tax returns and insurance claims. Criminals also use the stolen data to hack into organizations’ computer systems. They may even use the stolen data to commit blackmail or demand a ransom for its return.

Thieves are finding it easier and easier to pilfer people’s personal information. Criminals meet every firewall we put up with novel ways to get around them, but they still rely on the tried and true: pickpocketing, sifting through people’s garbage for, say, discarded bank statements, and tampering with bank ATMs. They also bait people into unwittingly handing over their personal information through online phishing and smishing (the use of text or SMS messaging) scams.

  • Principal Investigator Stephen Gies, Ph.D.
  • Co-Principal Investigator Nicole Piquero, Ph.D., with the University of Texas at Dallas
  • Alex Piquero, Ph.D., with the University of Texas at Dallas
  • Jennifer Grotpeter, Ph.D.
  • Brandn Green, Ph.D.

If you have been a victim of identity theft and are in need of services, please visit the website of the ITRC

For More Information About the Identity Theft Study

Contact DSG Senior Research Scientist Stephen Gies at 301.951.0056 or sgies@dsgonline.com

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