Millennials are the generation that’s most worried about online identity theft, but they’re the least likely to actively protect their data.
About half of those age 18-34 say that they’re concerned about cybercrime, but 86 percent store bank account information on their phones and 84 percent make financial transactions while connected to public Wi-Fi, according to a new report from TransUnion. Two-thirds of millennials don’t even protect their devices with passwords – a basic precaution for protecting your data from fraudsters.
By comparison, just 36 percent of Baby Boomers were concerned about identity theft, but at least half follow fundamental best practices to protect their data.
Last year nearly 18 million people, or about 7 percent of American adults were the victim of identity theft, according to new data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Two-thirds of victims reported a direct financial loss, although more than half was able to resolve any problems associated with the incident within a few days. While the cost for most victims was less than $99, the total amount lost to ID theft last year was $15.4 billion.
In addition to practicing good cyber hygiene online, best practices to protect your identity include using multiple, strong passwords and taking seriously any notification from a company that your account has been breached.
If you’re worried that you have been the victim of ID theft, report it immediately to your credit card issuer, bank and other financial institutions. Sign up for a fraud alert and check your credit reports regularly for suspicious activity.