Here's how it breaks down by age, according to the FTC:
19 and under: 2%
20 to 29 years old: 15%
30 to 39: 17%
40 to 49: 19%
50 to 59: 20%
60 to 69: 16%
70 and older: 11%
Equifax notes that by 2015, Americans over the age of 60 will total 112 million people, making the demographic an increasingly ripe target for identity thieves.
"Identity theft is a serious national problem, and its impact can be far-reaching," says Trey Loughran, president of Equifax Personal Solutions, part of the credit service company Equifax. "Older adults who fall victim to identity theft could temporarily lose access to much-needed benefits or lose their hard-earned savings."
"Educating and preparing Americans aged 50 and older to address potential risks is critical to helping prevent fraud," he adds.Older Americans are especially vulnerable to I.D. theft for a variety of reasons, according to an Equifax report on seniors and fraud:
- Older consumers may have caregivers on the premises. That gives unscrupulous caregivers easy access to personal data.
- Seniors are more likely to use landline telephones than other Americans. I.D. fraud artists know this and target older consumers via the phone.
- Seniors are the most pervasive users of the health care system, they are more prone to health care security breaches.
- Americans 65 and older carry a Medicare card bearing a Social Security number, a wide-open gateway to identity fraud. (I.D. thieves aren't even above stealing the identities of the dead and using their Social Security numbers to commit financial fraud.)
- Older U.S. adults travel a lot, especially in retirement. Unsecured Wi-Fi access, wide-open ATM usage and resort staff who may take advantage of older travelers are all common dangers when traveling.