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U.S. ID Fraud Declines but Young Adults at Risk

While identity theft can still pose multi-billion dollar danger for organizations and consumers, attacks by this fraud in the U.S. declined significantly in 2006, according to Javelin Strategy and Research's report on February1, 2007.

Identity fraud in the United States came down by $6.4 billion, or 12% in 2006. Of this the most dangerous kind i.e., opening fraudulent new accounts dropped the most, the study showed.

However, the greater risk of ID fraud for young adults countered the encouraging news, despite their tech-savvy approaches. The research also showed a "fraud detection digital divide" placing apart the wealthy and the poor, said Javelin Strategy and Research.

In a statement by James Van Dyke, president of Javelin, businesses were initiating many steps, so were consumers and law enforcement moving to neutralize frauds, reported MercuryNews on February1, 2007.

Individuals with less than $15,000 per year or the lower-income people are though less likely to be victims of ID fraud, but the process tends to last longer on them, said James. Also the fear of fraud results in poor people abandoning the Internet and other technology that could lessen their exposure to ID fraud.

Tena Friery, research director at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a non-profit consumer organization based in San Diego, expressed surprise a the size of decline in ID fraud attacks but attributed it to greater public awareness regarding the problem.

As per the latest annual survey by Javelin the number of ID fraud in 2006 caused a loss of $49 billion declining from $55.4 billion the previous year. The percentage of affected people fell from 4.7% in 2003 to 3.7% in 2006.

The survey also found that the risk for ID fraud with young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 was at a high rate of 5.3%. Van Dyke pointed this to carelessness as the major cause. Young people were more inviting to paper statements. They also tend to avoid being Web smart and use less of anti-virus, anti-spyware or firewall programs.

Javelin conducted the survey over 5,006 individuals last fall, of which 469 respondents said they had been victims of fraud.

Related article: U.S. Businesses Lose $712 Per Worker Due to Spam

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