An Equifax Canada Consumer Survey conducted for Fraud Prevention Month reported that Gen Z, adults aged 18-24, are the demographic least concerned about fraud and identity theft. Older generations are more likely than Gen Z to agree with the statements that companies need to do a better job at protecting personal information, penalties for fraud and identity theft should be increased, and the government should improve its fraud education.
Any age group is vulnerable to fraud, notes Julie Kuzmic, Equifax Canada’s Senior Compliance Officer, Consumer Advocacy. “It’s very clear that better communication is needed to warn younger generations about the dangers associated with fraud and identity theft. Criminals engaged in this type of crime can be quick to prey upon people who don’t have their defenses up.”
There is substantial recognition across all generations that anyone can be vulnerable to fraud whether it’s online, on-the-go, at home or in-store. However, Gen Z is once again less concerned and significantly less likely to take steps to prevent fraud before it happens. Only 52% of Gen Z agrees that they are reviewing their credit card and bank statements more closely for signs of fraud compared to 69% of the total population. These findings demonstrate that there is a need for increased education and awareness about the risk of fraud and identity theft amongst the younger generation.
Top concerns for fraud so far in 2022 are similar to those from 2021. Central concerns include; a computer virus or some form of hacking, a security breach at used retailers or businesses, online payments, phishing emails, and completing online applications with personal information. Nonetheless, 16% of respondents think identity theft happens to other people and it’s not likely to happen to them. Data from the Equifax Consumer survey suggests that Gen Z is the most likely to believe this statement, with only 75% of them agreeing that fraud and identity theft is a serious issue. Consumers can protect themselves from these top concerns through proactive fraud prevention. Some tips on how to protect your personal data are outlined below.
Protecting personal information includes changing your password on a monthly basis, double-checking financial statements, and shredding documents rather than putting them in the recycling where they could be found and read. Another simple method to prevent fraud before it happens is adopting two-factor authentication, a process of verifying a person’s identity by using an additional factor such as sending a PIN via email or text.
Gen Z is less likely to turn to credit bureaus for information about how to protect their personal information. One of the best ways to prevent and detect fraud crimes is to routinely check credit reports for any suspicious activity. Consumers can request a free copy of their Equifax credit report by phone, mail, in person, and online. “Criminals are often waiting to take advantage of you and it’s important to take steps to protect your personal information,” Kuzmic adds.
We want to help Canadians live their financial best. If you want to learn more about how understanding recent fraud trends can help minimize risk and reduce loss due to fraud, please contact your Equifax Account Representative. You can also reach us directly at 1-855-233-9226 and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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