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FTC Seeks Information From The Public About How Identity Theft Impacts Elders

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) seeks information from the public about how identity theft and fraud impact senior citizens. According to the Bureau of Justice statistics, 11.7 million people, about 5 percent of the population ages 16 or older, were victims of identity theft between 2006 and 2008. The FTC is concerned that:

"... seniors may be particularly susceptible to identity theft. They are often targeted for phishing scams; some seniors have granted powers of attorney giving wide access to their personal information; and most seniors' Medicare cards list their Social Security numbers. In addition, the personal information of senior citizens may be vulnerable in hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities."

To learn about the problem, the FTC seeks:

  • Original research about the scope of identity theft and elders,
  • The types of scams (e.g., phishing, tax, power of attorney, door-to-door) targeting elders,
  • Obstacles to fighting or preventing this identity theft,
  • Solutions by both the public and private sectors, and
  • Any related issues

The FTC focuses upon enforcing laws, sharing its identity-theft complaint data with local law enforcement, and educates both consumers and businesses about data security. The FTC has brought actions against 35 companies for failing to adequately safeguard the sensitvie consumer data stored. In the summer of 2011, the FTC held a forum on the impacts upon children of identity theft. In September 2011, the FTC testified before Congress (Adobe PDF) about the problem and the actions it was taking.

Comments and submissions must be received by July 15, 2012. Information can be submitted in electronic or paper formats. Submissions should be mailed or delivered to:

Federal Trade Commission
Office of the Secretary
Room H-112 (Annex L)
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20580

Submissions received will be made public on the FTC website.

The FTC helps consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices. It also provides information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. If you have been a victim of identity theft and fraud, you can file a complaint in English or Spanish at the FTC Complaint Assistant website, or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC compiles complaints it receives into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.


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