Young identity theft victims are among the fastest growing segment of identity theft also known as synthetic identity theft. As we continue to gather and analyze statistics regarding reported identity theft cases, one general question is what about the unreported identity theft victims and a more specific question is why do young identity theft victims account for a large segment of all identity theft cases? The answers might be because they share too much personal information, lack credit history, and are less likely to monitor their personalreports.
Let’s first talk about the young identity theft victims and why they are the most vulnerable category of all identity theft victims although the elderly and dead people are also highly vulnerable to identity theft. In general, young people are more vulnerable because they spend a lot more time online, are less cautious, share more information often, and are less likely to take identity theft seriously and monitor their personal reports. As suggested by various agencies, many college students share housing such as apartments and dorm rooms which might be a cause for excessive sharing of personal information. Potential young identity theft victims may leave their personal belongings unsecured for their roommates and their visitors to see or they might share personal information on the phone and online which might be overheard or disclosed while their roommates and their friends are present.
Young people may also be more vulnerable to identity theft by being less cautious while surfing and using the Internet. They may not think that their credit and identity is worth anything for others to misuse and that’s where they might be wrong in their thinking process which may also lead them to not monitor their identities. Although young adult students have tight budgets, money is not the main reason why they don’t monitor their identities because many free services exist today. As mentioned, their view of self identity worth and required time needed for monitoring is probably the reasons why they are less pro-active and more vulnerable to identity theft, although they are pretty good with computer security controls such as virus and spyware protection software.
Lack of money is always the last reason why a person should not protect and monitor his or her identity because current laws allow a person to order credit reports from all three credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com. Plus, properly reviewing account statements and locking personal information away when one is sharing a room with another person or being cautious about sharing personal information while other people are present don’t cost money.
Another important practice to avoid becoming potential young identity theft victims is to promptly remove the mail which might be delivered to a shared apartment mailbox or dorm room. All mails must be carefully reviewed and discarded to avoid potential misuse especially when some of their mails such as pre-approved credit card offers and others which may contain personal information and facilitate identity theft.
Lastly, a general question has to do with unreported identity theft victims. How can we account for the unreported identity theft victims and how can we improve the reporting process in order to get a more accurate count of all identity theft victims in the future? Most people are concerned with full recovery of their fraud charges and less concerned with being a statistic.