When it comes to online security, Canadian millennials are dropping the ball: TD

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WATCH: Tue, Mar 6: If you guessed seniors lost more money, you would be incorrect. When it comes to people falling victim to scammers, it's the younger generation who reported they lost money to fraud rather than our older population. Susan Hay has the story – Mar 6, 2018

Millennials are widely touted for their digital know-how, yet a new report by TD bank reveals that Canadian millennials largely don’t take the proper steps to protect their banking information and other sensitive data online.

READ MORE: Over $95 million dollars lost because of scams in 2017: Better Business Bureau

According to the survey, the most tech-savvy generation is sorely lacking when it comes to taking well-known precautions to protect their personal information. The report states that almost a quarter of millennial Canadians don’t use the screen-lock password feature on their device. In addition, 67 per cent of respondents said they use the same password or a slightly different version of a password for each account.

According to Tammy McKinnon, head of TD’s financial crimes and fraud management group, practising cyber safety plays a critical role in protecting confidential banking information, especially in a world of mobile banking apps and online financial services.

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“While we have various security controls in place to protect customer accounts and our systems, customers are the first line of defense against fraud and play a vital role in protecting their confidential banking information,” McKinnon said in a statement.

The report also states that 73 per cent of millennials remain concerned that they’ll be a victim of cyber-crime, despite not having taken the proper precautions. Aaron Clark, TD’s vice-president of everyday banking, states that much of the lack of effort put into personal data protection comes from the very comfort with technology millennials are lauded for.

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“People know there’s the potential risk of them being exposed to fraud. The surprising piece is how some of these basic preventions aren’t actually happening as frequently as we’d like to see,” Clark said in an interview with Global News.

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Clark went on to say that society is moving towards using their smartphones for a wide range of tasks, including sensitive activities like banking and shopping. Consumers that don’t take basic precautions, including using a different password for each account and changing them frequently, open themselves up to fraud and cyber-crime.

READ MORE: Canadians at higher risk of hacks, thanks to their smart devices: report

According to data from the Competition Bureau, online scams accounted for over $40 million in losses by Canadians in 2016. A more recent report by Symantec states that 10 million Canadians spent $1.8 billion dealing with the aftermath of being hacked in 2017, and the average cost per consumer totaling $69.

Clark goes on to warn that there are steps to take to avoid becoming a victim of cyber-crime, which he says always starts with creating a strong, unique password.

READ MORE: 55% of Canadian companies say they’ve been victims of fraud — experts say it’s likely more

“To me, we’ve just kind of underscored the importance of people understanding that the password is really your first step of protection against fraud,” said Clark.

The report also cites other methods for reducing the risk of fraud, including enabling auto-lock on devices, setting up a screen-lock password, and set up fraud alerts with your local bank which can alert you to suspicious purchases made with your card.

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Lastly, mobile bankers should stay abreast of their online statements and account records so fraudulent purchases are easier to catch.

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