One group targeted by identity thieves isn't as worried as they should be

College students are known for being perpetually broke, but that doesn’t mean that they have nothing worth stealing.

Students are often targets for identity theft, and while they’re not more likely to get their identities stolen than any other age group, they’re disproportionately unconcerned about the threat.

The FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, which collects data about consumer complaints including identity theft, found 18% of the people who experienced identity theft in 2014 were between the ages of 20 to 29.

That added up to 37,568 complaints over the course of the year, which is roughly equivalent to what other age groups reported.

But compared to the average victim of identity theft, young people were three times less likely to discover the fraud themselves, Javelin Strategy & Research found. Twenty-two per cent of students only discovered their identity had been stolen after a debt collector contacted them, or they were denied credit.

Disturbingly, the people who are stealing their personal information are often friends, family, or acquaintances. Students were four times more likely to be the victim of “familiar fraud,” Javelin’s 2015 Identity Fraud Study notes.

Despite these alarming statistics, identity theft isn’t on many young people’s minds.

Sixty-four per cent of students told Javelin researchers that they were “not very concerned” about fraud — more than in any other age group.

Protecting yourself against potential fraud doesn’t have to be difficult — or expensive. Here are six free ways to prevent identity theft, and three simple habits that will help safeguard your personal information.

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