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Identity and data thieves are less likely to open a new credit card or other loan in a consumer's name if the consumer has bad credit, according to a new report released today by Experian Information Solutions Inc. In April, Experian's Fraud Identity and Solutions Group analyzed 800,000 reports of fraud and attempted fraud supplied in 2007 and 2008 by financial institutions, credit card issuers, telecommunications companies, and other institutions providing financial products or services often subject to theft by identity fraud. Experian scored the creditworthiness of reported victims using its own VantageScore measure, which combines credit scores of the three major credit bureaus-Experian, TransUnion LLC and Equifax Inc. Researchers found that 48% of all detected identity fraud occurred among a sample population ranked among the top 20% of its credit scores-those with a VantageScore of 815 to 990. Individuals with VantageScores of 556 and below, the lowest scores in the group, represented only 4% of detected identity fraud. The discrepancy simply may be a matter of access. A fraudulent application for credit is more likely to be accepted the higher the credit score of the identity-theft victim and more likely to be rejected the lower the victim's credit score, Experian researchers surmise.

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