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Canadians aren’t protecting their personal information from fraud

Hackers can steal passwords and identities (Getty)

Even though fraud and identity theft are on the rise, Canadians don’t seem too worried about it.

According to new data from credit monitoring service Equifax, 37 per cent say they’ve been victims of identify theft.

And yet, fewer people are double-checking their credit card statements. Only 59 percent say they did, compared to 65 per cent two years ago.

Fewer people are shredding documents, with a drop from 57 per cent to 52 per cent. Only 35 per cent have updated their security software on their computer, compared to 42 per cent in 2017.

Attempts at credit card fraud have gone up by 42 per cent over the last two years.

The most startling increase involves true name fraud. In other words — when an identity thief poses as a real person when applying for a credit card, which has increased by 84 per cent over the last five years.

Millennials are a favourite target among fraudsters. Young Canadians were the victims in 48 per cent of all fraudulent credit card applications last year.

“Identity theft and fraud are more complex and sophisticated than ever, which should be of growing concern for Canadians,” said Tara Zecevic, VP of fraud prevention and identity management at Equifax Canada, in a news release.

“Millennials, in particular, should be doing more to educate themselves and protect their personal data given the incidence of credit card fraud we saw in 2018.”

When asked in a survey — 53 per cent of millennial respondents said they feel vulnerable to fraudsters and identity thieves. Among the general population, 57 per cent felt that way.

When asked if they believe identity theft is becoming more prevalent 70 per cent of millennials agreed, compared to 82 per cent among the general population.

“Younger adults need to recognize the importance of preventing fraud before it happens,” said Zecevic.

“There are so many little things consumers can do to help protect their personal information. It’s simply knowing what to do and making the time to do it.”

There are some encouraging signs among all age groups. More Canadians are sharing less on social media and more people are checking their credit reports. Surprisingly — millennials were the most likely to check credit reports (29 per cent)

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