Members of every age group face some level of risk for identity theft, albeit for different reasons. Young children can have their credit compromised years before they are old enough to check it, making them prime targets for thieves looking to escape detection. Teenagers and college students are increasingly exposing their personal information to others via social media. The elderly regularly find themselves at the receiving end of scams meant to exploit their lack of experience with modern computer technology.
On this blog, we’ve discussed the risks facing all three of these demographics. But we have also made a point to emphasize that no one is immune to identity theft, no matter his or her age. And it is becoming increasingly clear that Americans in their 40s, despite not being in any of the most targeted age groups, have to keep an eye on their personal information.
Here are some unfortunately common ways that thieves can take advantage of middle-age Americans:
- Numerous financial accounts. For starters, people in their 40s tend to be fairly well-established economically, meaning that they have numerous financial accounts and credit worth compromising. This opens them up to many different avenues of attack. Many people have a bad habit of using the same or similar passwords for their online accounts, and some of those accounts have credit cards attached. If a thief is able to gain access to just one of these accounts — even something as simple as email — he or she may have what it takes to commit credit card fraud or even identity theft.
- Vulnerable medical records. People in their 40s are also beginning to reach a time in their lives when they need to visit their doctor for more routine medical care than previously. This opens them up to the possibility of medical ID theft , which is a serious problem that can be difficult to address once it spirals out of control. Medical documents usually contain sensitive private information, such as Social Security Numbers, which can easily provide a thief with the foundation necessary to steal a patient’s identity.
- Unsecured family computer. Finally, middle-age parents can be put at risk by their children. As we just mentioned, teenagers have a habit of displaying personal information on social media for all to see. They are also the family members most likely to use peer-to-peer sharing software to share digital music, movies and games with their friends. Sharing copyrighted material is not only illegal, but it also opens up computers to a whole host of security issues. Even if parents aren’t doing the sharing, they will remain at risk as long as the whole family is using the same computer.
- By the time you reach your 40s, your identity has a great deal of value to thieves. It’s important to take proactive action to protect it. If you have concerns about identity theft, be sure to invest in a credit monitoring service, which can notify you of certain activity in your credit files that may indicate fraud. This can give you much-needed peace of mind, allowing you to rest assured that you’re taking important measures to safeguard your identity.