Identify theft wreaks serious havoc on the lives of those affected. It’s a problem much bigger than credit card or bank fraud. A stolen identity can be used to file fraudulent income tax returns, get a lease or loan, obtain government benefits, or even potentially steal an inheritance.
According to the FTC’s 2017 Consumer Sentinel Report, nearly 14% of consumer complaints were due to a stolen identity. Data breaches, the use of debit cards and electronic payments, mobile devices and online communication increase the risk. Although every person is at risk of identity theft, four groups are more at risk than others.
Seniors experience a higher than average rate of identity theft. The FTC reports 19% of persons ages 60-69 are victims of fraud due to identity theft with many experiencing financial losses. The percentage drops to 17% of those ages 50-59.
ACTIVE MILITARY AND VETERANS
Those who serve deserve better, but unfortunately, they have the highest percentage of identity theft at more than double the national average. Around 30% of active military and veterans report identity theft, with about two-thirds being complaints from veterans and military retirees.
The FTC reports college student identity theft is on par with the national average. Even so, Consumer Reports notes college students have an increased risk as a result of less experience with managing personal data, new credit cards and a limited transaction history that would otherwise alert banks and credit card companies to suspicious activity. Plus, student loan fraud grew by 120% from 2016 to 2017, another factor related to identity theft.
Children may not have credit cards, loans or bank accounts, but they do have social security numbers identity thieves can use. Lifelock has stated children as young as five months have suffered identity theft. Why are children targets? Although they may not have bank accounts or credit cards, parents are not as likely to monitor their child’s identity, making them an ideal target.
Related Post – How to protect your family from identity theft
OTHER RISK FACTORS FOR IDENTITY THEFT
Age isn’t the only factor that can increase your risk of identity theft. Other factors to consider include:
Where You Live
Certain states have higher rates of complaints of identity theft, including Nevada, Florida, New Jersey, Delaware and California.
It may come as no surprise, but the more you earn, the greater your risk of becoming a target of identity thieves.
How Much Information You Share
The more information you share online, the higher your risk. Sharing information with an unknown source is obviously the most dangerous.