Which Generation Is Most At Risk for Identity Theft?

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Generation X. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in 2017 more than 40 percent of identity theft crimes reported in its Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book were against victims ages 30-49. (This compares to 20 percent committed against victims in their 20s or younger, and 29 percent committed against Baby Boomers in their 50s and 60s.)

In fact, Generation X topped the list across all types of reported identity theft with the exception of government documents or benefit fraud. Generation X reported the highest instances of:

  • Bank fraud
  • Credit card fraud
  • Employment or tax-related fraud
  • Loan or lease fraud
  • Phone or utilities fraud

The reason may lie, at least partially, in Gen X’s social media habits.

Social Media Sharing and Identity Theft

The majority (78 percent) of Gen Xers use social media, and while social media is all about sharing information and experiences with family, friends, and colleagues, that openness comes with risks.

Savvy criminals know how to skim social profiles (especially those that are public) to extract names, family members’ names, emails, locations, and even phone numbers—all of which can be used to conduct a social engineering attack in which the criminal impersonates a trusted friend to try to gain access to personal and financial data.

Spending, Debt, and the Gen X Generational Crunch

Generation X also has the highest spending and the highest debt of any generation, which could put them at increased risk for the financial consequences of identity theft, such as the need to borrow money from family and friends.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that Generation X has higher spending across all household categories, except entertainment, than any other generation (including housing, clothing, eating out, food at home, and other expenses).

Not surprisingly given their spending, USA Today reports that Gen X also has more credit card debt on average than any other generation. Both of these factors are likely caused by Gen X being sandwiched in the generational crunch of financially supporting both children and aging parents.

If identity theft strikes, this could put Gen Xers in the difficult situation of trying to recover their identity in a time when they rely heavily on credit.

Identity Theft Can Strike at Any Age

No single age group is immune to identity theft, even children. In fact, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) aptly uses the term “cradle to grave” in terms of who is susceptible.

Read the white paper to learn more about how identity theft affects every generation.

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