Generations Still Ignorant on ID Theft

The older and younger generations finally have something in common: they are most susceptible to identity theft and the least knowledgeable about the extent of damage it can cause, according to a new study by Capital One and Consumer Action.

For example, the study found that 43% of Americans aged 70 and above and 44% of Americans age 18 to 19 carry their Social Security cards in their wallets.  That compares to an overall average of about 32% of Americans who carry their Social Security cards.  Also, 55% of older Americans and 75% of younger Americans do not realize that identity thieves can use the data they steal to obtain a mortgage.  That compares to 44% of all consumers who also do not realize a mortgage can be obtained.

Overall, the survey found that 93% of Americans are well aware of the crime of identity theft, but many don't know how the information can be used or what to do about it.  For example, 32% don't know that thieves can obtain a driver's license or ID card with the information.  Forty-five percent of Americans incorrectly believe that victims of identity theft should obtain a new Social Security Number.

The survey by Braun Research polled more than a thousand adults.

This article first appeared in Bankers' Hotline Newsletter, published 12 times a year by Bankers' Hotline, The Monthly Resource for Branches and Operstions ( Copyright © 2007 Bankers Hotline.