YouGov research commissioned by Equifax reveals the ‘fraud fear factor’ across the generations as 5.1 million online fraud incidents and 2.5 million cybercrime offences added to annual crime figures for England and Wales**
New online YouGov research commissioned by Equifax*, the credit information provider, reveals that Generation Y, whilst probably being the most technology-savvy, seem to be the most blasé about protecting themselves from financial and identity fraud. Released on the same day as the Government reports, for the first time, on online fraud and cybercrime in England and Wales, the Equifax research throws the spotlight on the risks being taken by consumers.
According to the new data, the youngest generation of adults appear to be the most worried about bank account fraud (35%), but they are the least worried about identity fraud (20%). In contrast, the over 55s are more concerned about ID fraud (36%), with bank account fraud the biggest concern for just 28%.
Despite their concerns about bank account fraud, half of 18 to 24 year-olds still store personal information, such as PINs and online passwords, on their smartphones. They are also the generation that does the most online banking with 60% of those with a smartphone checking their bank accounts and balances while on the move; and 44% of these admitting to doing it wherever they are. With 54% admitting to using the same password for more than one online account, compared to the national average of 40%, this makes the youngest generation potentially the most vulnerable to fraudsters.
“This new insight from our YouGov-commissioned research reveals quite different attitudes to fraud across the generations” explained Lisa Hardstaff, Equifax credit information expert. “Whilst 18 to 24 year olds admit to worrying more about bank account fraud, they still use their phones to check their bank account details wherever they are, which may mean their financial information is more exposed. And the fact that this generation are the least worried about identity fraud probably explains why they seem to be the least concerned about the security of their personal details with 50% storing such information on smartphones without, it seems, really considering the consequences. Fraudsters need very little information in order to commit fraud and a stolen phone could give opportunistic criminals everything they need.”
The YouGov research seems to support the ‘older and wiser’ adage. Just 31% of 35 to 44 year-olds admitted to storing their personal information on a smartphone and only a quarter (25%) of 45 to 54 years olds do the same. This figure goes down to just 12% for the over 55s.
“It is clear from the results of this research that people across every generation need to be alert to protecting themselves from fraud”, added Lisa Hardstaff. “From the younger generation who store more information on smartphones, to the older generations may be less credit active and therefore not check their credit information very often.
“Whatever their age, we recommend that all consumers regularly monitor their credit report for any changes to accounts or new accounts they didn’t authorise.”
Top tips from Equifax also help to keep consumers’ data safe from criminals:
EQUIFAX’S TOP TIPS TO AVOID ID THEFT
• Regularly apply for a copy of your credit file to look out for any unauthorised activity. This will help you to act quickly if any identity theft has occurred
• Shred statements, bills and direct mail which contains personal information before you dispose of them
• Redirect mail if you move
• Keep your PIN and passwords secure and ensure they are not easy to guess
• Always check bank statements and credit card statements carefully against receipts
• Be careful of what you carry around in your handbag or wallet. Credit card receipts, payslips, driving licence, bank statement, utility bill…these all reveal a lot of information about you and a combination of these can be a fraudsters dream
• When using online banking, ensure people can’t view your details and log out of websites, rather than just closing the window
• No matter how much you trust your friends, work colleagues, do not give out your PIN under any circumstances
• Never store your PIN on smartphone, tablet or laptop devices – ensure these devices are themselves properly PIN or password protected –
• Do a factory reset when trading in an old phone to wipe it clean and remove any personal data
• If you are disposing of an old computer, or other electronic device that stores data make sure you remove the information from the hard drive
• Make sure your computer has the latest virus protection that ideally updates hourly and you have a Firewall
Equifax WebDetect, the 24/7 ID monitoring solution, helps keep consumers one step ahead of fraudsters by alerting them to potential unauthorised trading of their personal information. WebDetect is free for customers purchasing their Equifax Credit Report or Credit Score.
The Equifax Credit Report is accessible for 30 days free simply by logging onto http://www.equifax.co.uk/Products/credit/credit-report.html. If customers do not cancel before the end of the 30 Day Free Trial, the service will continue at £9.95 per month, giving them unlimited online access to their credit information and weekly alerts on any changes to their credit file. It also includes an online dispute facility to help them correct any errors on their credit file simply and quickly.
*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,012 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th – 7th October 2015 The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
**~Crime in England and Wales, end June 2015