According to a recent survey by Javelin Strategy & Research, identity theft is on the rise. Moreover, the “core millenial” group â€” those between the ages of 18 and 24 â€” are at greatest risk because it takes them much longer than other age groups to figure out they’ve been victimized.
Apparently it takes young people an average of 132 days to to detect credit and bank fraud as compared to 49 days in older age groups. Thus, once their identity has been compromised, fraudsters have over four months to take advantage of the information before young victims figure out what’s going on.
Overall, 14% of those surveyed reported having fallen victim to identity theft, a 12% increase over the past year. Not surprisingly, criminals are increasingly relying on high tech methods of capturing personal information, including phishing, SMiShing, and keylogging.
Another cautionary note is that small business owners fall victim to identity theft 1.5 times as often as other adults, apparently because they often use personal accounts when making business transactions, and also because they make more transactions than “typical” adults.
Interestingly, though identity thieves steal an average of $4,841 per victim, the ultimate cost to the victim averages $373 (median = $0) because banks usually cover most, if not all, of the losses. Identity theft can be a big time suck, though, as the average victim spends 21 hours filing claims and getting their money back.
Fortunately, I’ve never had to personally deal with identity theft. If you have, I invite you to share you experiences in the comments.