Millennials Complain the Most About Identity Theft

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The more isolated you feel, the more susceptible you are to online fraud especially in New York, according to a new report.

"Scammers have New Yorkers pegged based on how they're feeling and their online behaviors," said Beth Finkel, state director for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) in New York.

"The Caught in the Scammer's Net" AARP study found that it is a combination of life events, such as feeling isolated or lonely, losing a job and signing up for free trial offers online that put a person at the greatest risk of being scammed.

The survey further found that the top risk factors making New Yorkers prone to online scams include clicking on pop-ups and visiting websites that requires them to read a privacy policy.

"What a person is going through or feeling can be the difference between them becoming the next victim or not," said Finkel.

A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) study found that in 2014 identity theft complaints caused the average victim to lose more than $2,200 and that the highest reported age group for identity theft is 20 years old to 29 years old with 20% of complaints.

"Americans of all ages are vulnerable to identity theft and it remains the most common consumer complaint to the commission," said Jessica Rich, director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection.

About 30% of identity theft incidents were tax- or wage-related, which continues to be the largest category within identity theft complaints, according to the agency's Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2013.

The IRS paid $70 million dollars in known fraudulent refunds to identity thieves, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

"Drug dealers are turning to IRS identity theft because it's less risky and more lucrative," said Florida Republican John Mica, chairman of the House oversight and government reform subcommittee on government operations.