News & Resources

Study: Elderly identity theft a silent crime

Oct 11, 2011 Karen Umpierre

According to a recent study from security firm ID Analytics, an increasing number of adults are committing identity theft against their parents. IDA studied more than 300 million U.S. consumers, and found that more than 2 million elderly adults were sharing a Social Security number with their adult children. Other key findings included the fact that approximately 500,000 children under the age of 18 have had their identities stolen by a parent, and around 6 million parents and children improperly share identity information. However, the elderly statistics were the most shocking. "Elder parents are often vulnerable and often dependent on caretakers who sometimes are children," Jaimee Napp, consultant and expert on ID theft victim rights, told MSNBC. "A crime can be easier for a child to commit against an older parent because of access to their information." Napp added that elderly theft is common because many adult children feel entitled to their parents' money, and can justify the crime if the parent suffers from dementia or other mentally crippling diseases. Many times, she adds, the identity theft happens silently, which is why it hasn't gotten the attention it deserves.