Who’s at risk of identity theft?

A new nationwide survey by the AARP shows that consumers continue to put themselves at risk of identity theft by ignoring simple protection tips like shredding personal documents, checking credit reports and locking mailboxes.

But the report reveals Americans are falling even further behind in the fight to protect their identities as scam artists go digital. Americans continue to ignore time-tested consumer protection tips that are known to help protect personal information from identity thieves.

Only 59% of Americans regularly lock their mailboxes. More than 21% say they never shred any of the personal documents that could be used to steal their identity. And 54% of Americans ages 18-49 have left at least one valuable personal item in their car.

More troubling, Americans are even less prepared for new high-tech attacks. Over one-in-three (35%) Americans have not set up online access to all of their bank/credit card accounts. It gets worse among older adults as more than four-in-ten (42%) of Americans age 50+ have not set up such access.

More than four-in-ten (45%) of Americans admit to using the same password on two or more of their accounts. Almost half (49%) of Americans have not changed the password on their online bank account in the past six months.

Other survey results included:

  • Twelve percent of Americans age 18 or older have been subject to identity theft in just the past 12 months.
  • Over half (52%) of Americans do not check their free credit report annually.
  • Just 14% of Americans say they subscribe to identity theft protection services such as Lifelock, Identity Guard, or LegalShield.
  • Just 17% of Americans check their credit regularly with one of the credit bureaus.
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