Friday, June 19, 2009
Higher credit scores more apt to see ID theft
Consumers having a high credit score are more likely to become victims of identity theft, because fraudsters using their identities find it easier to get credit, according to a new study from Experian.
Experian has no data that suggest thieves specifically target high scorers.
Instead, the credit bureau explained that consumers with high credit scores tend to get approved for accounts on a more regular basis. Then, when fraudsters use their identification, they too are more apt to be approved for credit because of their victims' scores. The higher score means easier credit for the fraudsters; lower credit scores mean the fraudster's application is more likely to be rejected.
The top 20% of borrowers--who had ratings of 815 and above on the VantageScore 501-990 scale--were victims of 48% of all self-reported identity theft cases. Consumers in the average-to-very good credit ratings--762 to 814--were victims in an additional 13% of fraud cases. Those with lower scores accounted for less than half the fraud cases, while those in the lowest 20% made up 4% of fraud cases.
To help protect themselves from identity theft, consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus annually. To request a copy, consumers should go to https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp or call toll free 1-877-322-8228.