BetaNews - Incidents of identity theft are decreasing, and the average loss as a result of fraud has dropped, a new study suggests. The improvement may reflect a higher awareness of the problem by consumers and businesses, say experts. A study released Thursday by Javelin Strategy & Research showed that Americans lost $49.3 billion during 2006 due to identity theft. While still a considerable amount of money, that is down 13 percent from $55.7 billion a year earlier.One out of every 27 Americans, or about 8.4 million, was a victim of some type of fraud. That too has decreased, from 8.9 in 2005, and 10.1 million three years ago. The average loss was $5,720, down from $6,278 a year ago.