Almost 20 per cent of US consumers admit to falling victim to identity theft, and younger adults are at greatest risk, according to the latest Experian-Gallup Personal Credit Index published today.
Twenty-five per cent of consumers across America under the age of 30 admitted to having their financial information stolen, compared with about 18 per cent in the middle-aged group and just 11 per cent among consumers 65 and older, the study found.
"The public's perception about how many consumers have suffered identity theft appears fairly accurate, according to the poll, with the median projected percentage at 15 per cent, not very far off from the 18 per cent measured in the poll," said Ed Ojdana, group president at Experian Interactive.
"This makes it all the more concerning that so few consumers are being proactive in protecting their information."
About two-thirds of consumers who have not experienced identity theft consider that it is unlikely to happen to them.
Only six per cent have purchased some form of identity theft protection, and just four per cent have purchased identity theft insurance and checked their credit report to see whether they have been victims of identity theft.
Although few consumers have taken preventive action to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, 62 per cent said they were concerned that their financial information could be stolen online.
More than half are also concerned that their personal information could be stolen from the post (55 per cent) or at a shop (53 per cent), while 47 per cent fear becoming a victim at a restaurant.
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