The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received more identity theft reports from millennials in 2017 than they did from senior citizens, a recent report revealed.
According to its “Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2017,” the FTC fielded reports of identity theft from 61,114 victims between the ages of 20 and 29 in 2017, while those in their 30s submitted 80,467 reports.
Together, millennials between 20 and 39 filed 141,581 cases in which someone stole their identity. That number dwarfs the combined total of 67,125 reports received from consumers in their 60s, 70s and 80s.
Fraud Types and Average Losses
Criminals victimized millennials with many different types of identity fraud, which affected 16.7 million U.S. consumers in 2017, according to Javelin Strategy & Research’s “2018 Identity Fraud Study.” The FTC report found that more than 30 percent of people in their 20s and close to 40 percent of those in their 30s suffered from instances of credit card fraud. Millennials who contacted the FTC also experienced bank fraud, employment or tax-related fraud, and phone or utilities fraud.
In addition, 40 percent of identity theft victims aged 20-29 said they lost money as a result of those scams, compared to just 18 percent of those in their 70s and older. However, senior citizens who did lose money reported greater sums than younger victims. The average median amount stolen from victims aged 80 or older was $1,092, while millennials lost less than half of that total.
Educating Consumers About Identity Theft
Overall, the FTC logged 2.68 million complaints from consumers in 2017. On one hand, that number represents a decrease from 2.98 million individuals who reported cases of identity theft in the previous year. On the other hand, victims lost more money to fraudsters in 2017 ($905 million) than the year prior ($842 million).
“This underscores the importance of the FTC’s work in educating consumers and cracking down on the scammers who try to take their money,” said Tom Pahl, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, as quoted in a press release.
To protect themselves from identity thieves, consumers should be wary of suspicious emails and other social engineering schemes designed to compromise their sensitive data. If they suspect that someone is mishandling their personal information, consumers should file a complaint with the FTC.