Who Is Most At Risk For Identity Theft?

MAY 01, 2014

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In 2013, identity theft and fraud accounted for nearly 70% of consumer complaints according to the Federal Trade Commissions Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book. While that statistic underscores the need for everyone to be aware of and take steps to prevent identity theft, data indicates that certain groups are at greater risk.

People age 20 to 29 accounted for 20 percent of identity theft complaints in 2013. This is because that age group is more likely to be active online, and especially on social media, where their exposure to cyber-attacks is high. They also may have less experience with managing credit and finances and be less aware of the need to monitor financial accounts closely.

While seniors older than 70 make up only 8% of identity theft complaints, we know from Experians recent State of Credit survey that older Americans tend to have better credit, making them a favored target for identity thieves and fraudsters. Seniors may also have retirement savings with more liquid funds at the mercy of identity thieves should they be compromised. Further, seniors make more use of the healthcare system, placing them at greater risk of medical identity theft a growing problem in the U.S.

While children 19 and younger make up a smaller percentage of reported identity theft victims, child identity theft is a serious problem. In many ways a childs risk is greater than an adults. Childrens clean credit histories make them appealing targets for identity thieves. Plus, fraud and other identity crimes against children often go undetected until the child first applies for credit in his or her own name often years after the initial crime.

Its important for everyone to be aware of fraud risks and how to prevent identity theft. Government resources like the FBI, FTC and organizations like the National Crime Prevention Council or the Identity Theft Resource Center provide information on how to guard against identity theft and how to recognize if you’ve already become a victim.

This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.

Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc., an Experian company.   © 2014 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc.   All rights reserved.