We all make assumptions about identity theft. The most common one is that “It will never happen to me.” As a Watchblog reader, you know that’s a fallacy. It’s also dangerous to assume that the elderly are the number one targets for hackers. In truth, we are all at risk. However, it seems age does play a role in selecting identity theft victims.
Last year, identity theft hit most age groups with some force but individuals 30 to 59 years old filed the majority of all identity theft complaints tracked by the government’s Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN). Those individuals making up the majority of the US workforce filed 61% of all ID theft complaints. Americans under age 19 or over 70 years old reported the fewest filings.
In all, CSN received over 3 million complaints last year. Only debt collection complaints significantly outnumbered identity theft claims. The largest number of complaints fell into the employment or tax-related identity category.
How Hackers Misuse Stolen Identity Information
A must-read section of the report gives insight into how hackers misuse identity information. Some of the abuses might surprise you. Insurance fraud, fake driver’s licenses and passports, bogus phone, or utility accounts, and even cases where thieves obtained student loans were documented in the data book. Criminal identity theft numbers were also detailed in the data. These stats include efforts to evade the law using fake IDs. Also on the list were government benefits fraud like fake unemployment or Social Security claims and financial transactions like loans or car lease fraud.
Only 27% of complainants stated they had contacted law enforcement. In the majority of these cases, a police report was taken.
If you have trouble getting the police to fill out an identity theft complaint, file one with the CSN via ftccomplaintassistant.gov.