CALGARY – A new survey suggests over half of Canadians have fallen victim to financial fraud – and that unaware millennials are the most likely targets.
Equifax Canada’s survey, released on Monday, found that 53 per cent of respondents had been the victim of fraud, and that millennials (Generation Y) are experiencing more fraud than any other generation.
According to the agency’s Chief Privacy Officer John Russo, approximately half of all fraud in Canada is being committed against the age group.
“Millennials rely heavily on technology for most of their day-to-day activities, which exposes them to more risk,” Russo said. “Whether it’s online banking at home or tapping into a Wi-Fi hot-spot via a mobile device, millennials must recognize that they are now the biggest target for fraudsters.”
Russo also suggests millennials may be operating under the false assumption that they don’t make enough money to be targeted by fraudsters.
“When it comes to online behavior, compared to the national average, millennials are less likely to double check their credit card statements, change their passwords, and limit their online purchases,” Russo added. “Additionally, our survey found that 21 per cent think that identity theft is something that happens to other individuals, not them.”
Equifax Canada’s tips for protecting your personal data
- Be less ‘social’ within your networks: don’t over share. Tech-savvy thieves can quickly gather what you share on social networks (your home or email address; children’s names; birth date and so on) to use for scams, phishing, and account theft.
- Fight ‘phishing’ – don’t take the bait: Never give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you have initiated the contact.
- Check your credit report: Report problems immediately. Check your credit report once or twice per year. Consider signing up for ongoing monitoring of your credit file to safeguard against potentially fraudulent activity.
- Click with caution: When shopping online, check out a website before entering your credit card number or other personal information. Only enter personal information on secure web pages with “https” in the address bar and a padlock symbol at the bottom of the browser window.
- Use strong passwords online: Easy passwords open the doors to your personal information. Make passwords more complicated by combining letters, numbers, mixing in special characters and changing them regularly.
Equifax Canada spoke to 1,539 Canadians ages 18-65 for its survey. According to Equifax Canada, the survey carries a margin of error of +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.