According to the bi-annual Internet Security Threat Report from Symantec (.pdf), identity thieves aren't getting nearly as rich off of your stolen or "misplaced" data as they used to. As the AP reports, the sheer glut of personal information being pilfered these days, combined with a falling U.S. dollar and fierce competition among identity hawkers, has driven the prices for such stolen data down to "bargain-basement levels."
Researchers say that internet fraudsters are therefore doing what any self-respecting salesman would do: offering volume discounts. Currently, some stolen credit-card numbers are begin sold in batches of 500 for as low as US$200. That's 40 cents for each number, less than half the price observed during the first half of 2007, according to the report.
What's more, "full identity" packages, which include a working credit card number, a Social Security number and a person's name, address and DOB, are going for as little as US$100 for 50, or US$2 apiece. Now that's a bargain.
Because of the falling U.S. dollar, and (I'm guessing) a population racked with debt, European identities also tend to be worth a lot more than the American equivalent.