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Identity Fraudsters Improve Aim on the Wealthy

UK study shows that those who make more than $100,000 are almost three times more likely to be victims

Somebody once asked famed safecracker Willie Sutton why he robbed banks. "Because that's where the money is," he replied. According to a study released today by British credit services firm Experian, identity thieves are adopting the same mentality.

Identity thieves are seeking -- and finding -- the wealthiest targets for their attacks, the study says. In fact, people who make more than $100,000 a year are now three times more likely to be victimized. Corporate "top dogs" -- those either at director level or running their own businesses -- are almost three times more likely to become targets than the average consumer.

Criminals are also targeting the right geographies, according to the report. Individuals living in London are more than twice as likely to have their identities stolen than those living elsewhere in the UK, and the wealthiest neighborhoods of London are generally those where the most attacks are reported.

Forwarding address fraud -- in which a criminal redirects the victim’s mail to a drop address that s/he can then access -- accounts for 36 percent of identity theft in the U.K. The average victim takes almost 18 months to discover that s/he has become a victim, the study says.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

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