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Assessing the Measurement of Identity Theft through the Identity Theft Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey

NCJ Number
Lynn Langton; Christopher Krebs; Patrick Hsieh; Sarah Cook; Philip Lee; Jeanne Snodgrass; Herschel Sanders
Date Published
October 2023
140 pages

This report describes efforts to assess potential sources of measurement error in the Identity Theft Supplement (ITS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).


The Identity Theft Supplement (ITS) is the key source of data on the prevalence and nature of identity theft victimization in the United States. The assessment included (1) an analysis of ITS data to examine three central issues in the measurement of identity theft: the definition of identity theft and the scope of incidents included under that label, the unbounded nature of the estimates and the potential for telescoping due to the ITS being administered less frequently than the core National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), and the inclusion of attempted incidents; (2) cognitive testing of the recommended changes to the survey instrument based on findings from the data analysis; and (3) an online pilot test of three versions of the ITS instrument to assess which approach produced the most-accurate and most-reliable measures of identity theft victimization.