Millennials — Easy Bait for ID Thieves
February 2nd, 2012
Twenty somethings: Easy bait for identity thieves.
Millennials. Eighties Babies. Echo Boomers. The Connected Generation. You may think of them as tech savvy and device dependent. Identity thieves think of them as an easy victim. It’s like taking candy from a baby.
Under 30? Let’s see your ID.
According to a study conducted by the Federal Trade Commission, Americans age 20-29 make up 15% of identity theft complaints.1
But the real threat to this age group is the severity of damage. Javelin Strategy & Research reported that 18-24 year olds spend double the amount of time on fraud resolution than other victims. And the same age group is more at risk for debit card fraud, and more likely to have their debit card PIN stolen.2
Made up of the notoriously digital generations, this age group may appear too streetwise to fall victim to identity theft. But the truth is they’re constantly putting their personal information at risk.
Young and dumb? Or just naïve.
Although electronically smart, young adults are still relatively young and naïve to the risk of publicly leaking personal information. It may have something to do with the digitally connected lifestyles of Generation Y.
According to the same study by Javelin Strategy & Research, “In general, younger consumers tend to engage in riskier electronic behavior … With the growing use and adoption of smartphones and tablets, the risk of viruses, man‐in‐the‐middle attacks, and other security threats are only going to increase.”2
It starts with social media. Social media users with a public profile are more at risk for identity theft. And mobile devices are an additional problem—6.6% of mobile device users reported fraud incidents.2
But it also may have something to do with the turbulent lifestyle this age group often faces. Between college, different apartments, student loans, odd jobs and finding a career, the life of a twenty something is always changing—making it easier for identity thieves to make changes to records without being noticed. And without established credit and a strict budget, young adults depend on debit cards more frequently than other age groups.
Tech savvy and identity smart.
Even in an electronic world, there are a few simple precautionary measures to take to protect yourself from identity theft. Start by tightening your privacy settings on social media sites and online accounts.
Make sure your mobile phone has a password, and ensure that all of your passwords are complicated and secure. Be sure to protect documents that contain any information regarding finances and government records. Review your annual credit reports and monthly bank statements, and be careful with any documents that may contain personal information.
1 Federal Trace Commission. “Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book For January – December 2011.” February 2012.
2 Javelin Strategy & Research. “2012 Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming the New Fraud Frontier.” February 2012.