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  • Identity Theft Through A Lifetime

    Posted on June 23rd, 2008 NewSunSEO No comments

    Identity thieves discriminate to some degree. Anyone — young or old, rich or poor — can be a victim, but fraudsters generally prefer the easiest targets.

    While most Americans are doing more to protect themselves from identity theft, others allow themselves to be more vulnerable. The greatest risk is to the 25- to 34-year-old age group. The good news is that as we get older, we’re less likely to become a victim.

    “What we’re finding is that once somebody gets past the age of 44, the numbers start going down,” says Keith Anderson, a spokesman for the Federal Trade Commission.

    Still, 8.1 million adult Americans last year discovered that ID thieves had breached their personal data and committed one or more crimes against them, according to a February report by Pleasanton, Calif.-based Javelin Strategy & Research.

    Children – In February, the FTC reported about 5 percent of all identity theft complaints involved victims under 18.

    Teens and young adults – Most of the time, parents don’t even think to check their child’s credit report. But by the time the child graduates from high school, it could be too late. To complicate matters, teens and young adults are among the least likely to take steps to prevent identity theft. College students are notorious for leaving doors unlocked, computers unsecured and credit card bills in plain sight of potential thieves — behaviors that invite trouble. If you have roommates, you should always keep paper statements under lock and key. Paper is a risky financial document. Six percent of all ID fraud comes from paper documents.

    Young families – Newlyweds just starting out generally have positive outlooks, believing that the best days are ahead of them. But if their credit card or bank account information were filched somehow, they may face tough times ahead instead. If an ID thief gets a person’s checks or debit card and drains his bank account, he generally has 48 hours to report the fraud. After that brief window, the person’s on the hook for $500. If he doesn’t report fraud within 60 days, his liability is unlimited.

    Seniors – 89 percent of consumers age 50 to 64 said they regularly shred unnecessary documents containing sensitive information. Some 69 percent said they would consider initiating a credit freeze to protect their information. In the 65-plus age category, nearly 79 percent shred documents, and 53 percent would consider initiating a freeze.

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