Identity theft has the distinction of being one of the fastest growing categories of white-collar crime, with a projected compound annual growth rate of 32% over the next four years. Though consumers are usually thought to be its main victims, mutual fund companies and other financial services firms also pay for the crime.

Last year, Americans reported more than 500,000 cases of identity theft, defined as "the act of acquiring an individual's private information without consent and then using the acquired identity to commit fraudulent transactions." Celent Communications projects there will be more than 1.5 million cases by the end of 2005.

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