This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

5 Reasons So Many Seniors Fall Victim to I.D. Theft

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- An alarming 45% of all consumer identity theft complaints last year came from Americans over the age of 50, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

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%

Also see: Public Wi-Fi Increasingly Easy, Still Too Dangerous

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:

Also see: Mobile Banking Needs Smartphones With Retina Scans

  • 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.

To thwart identity theft, older Americans are urged by security experts not to carry a Medicare card in wallets or pocketbooks, not to accept "business" calls from unknown people, to secure their cellphones, laptop and tablet computers, and to be wary of using public Wi-Fi hotspots when traveling, especially overseas.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.74 0.00%
FB $117.58 0.00%
GOOG $693.01 0.00%
TSLA $240.76 0.00%
YHOO $36.60 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs