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New Report Shows Adults 55 and Older Protecting Personal Information

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AARP released a new report today (October 28, 2020) exploring the impact of identity fraud on U.S. adults aged 55+ and how technology may play a role in consumers’ ability to protect themselves from financial harm. The report, “Identity Fraud in Three Acts,” developed by Javelin Strategy & Research and sponsored by AARP, shows that 26% of Americans aged 55+ have been victims of identity fraud. However, more are taking additional precautions to prevent losses of personal information: 29% have placed credit freezes on their credit bureau information following an identity theft incident, and more than half have enrolled in identity protection or credit monitoring services.

“Older Americans are leading more digitally infused lives, with two-thirds using online banking weekly, so it’s encouraging to see that many are taking proactive steps to protect their identity following a data breach,” said Kathy Stokes, Director of AARP Fraud Prevention Programs. “Passwords still represent a security threat, however; using repeated passwords across multiple online accounts makes it easy for criminals to crack one of them so that all of your accounts – including financial accounts – become accessible.”

According to the report, consumers 55+ want to bank using stronger security authentication. Roughly 90% state a desire to use more fingerprint scanning, and 80% view facial recognition capabilities as trustworthy forms of technology for financial transactions and private business matters. The report also shows identity fraud victims age 65+ do not necessarily change how they shop, bank or pay following a fraudulent event, with 70% exhibiting reluctance to change familiar habits.

“Criminals are regularly targeting Americans aged 55+ through a combination of sophisticated scams via computer malware and also through more traditional low-tech channels via telephone and U.S. mail,” shared the report’s author, John Buzzard, Lead Analyst, Fraud and Security at Javelin. “The combination of high-tech and low-tech strategies unfortunately gives the upper hand to the criminal — not the consumer.”

To learn more, watch the on-demand Identity Fraud in Three Acts webinar with experts, Kathy Stokes, Director, Fraud Prevention Programs, AARP and John Buzzard, Fraud & Security Analyst, Javelin Strategy & Research. To learn more about AARP’s fraud prevention programs, visit aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.  

For more information and resources, and to access the full report, click here.

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