Equifax data suggests fraud and identity theft is on the rise, but millennials remain less concerned

Fewer Canadians are double-checking their financial statements, shredding personal documents, or installing security software on their computers despite the increased threat of fraud and identity theft, according to Equifax Canada. Data flagged by financial institutions and tracked by Equifax Canada also found that:

  • Attempts of credit card fraud have increased by 42 per cent over the last two years;
  • Millennials were targeted in 48 per cent of all fraudulent credit card applications in 2018; and
  • Suspected true name fraud (when an identity thief poses as a real person in completing a credit application) has also increased by 84 percent over the last five years.

“Identity theft and fraud is more complex and sophisticated than ever, which should be of growing concern for Canadians,” said Tara Zecevic, Vice President, Fraud Prevention and Identity Management, Equifax Canada. “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.

“It seems that complacency is setting in for some people when we actually need to be more vigilant than ever in the fight against fraud,” added Zecevic. “But identity thieves don’t take a holiday, and they target people who make it easy for them.”

Survey Results: Millennials are Less Concerned

The survey found that consumers were doing more in two areas: sharing less on social media (up 43 per cent from 39 percent) and more people are checking their credit reports (up to 28 per cent from 21 per cent). Surprisingly, millennials checked their credit reports more than any other age group (29 per cent).

Survey Results: Complacency Concerns
Nearly four-in-ten or 37 per cent of Canadians say they have been victims of identity theft or fraud at some point, and the overwhelming majority of consumers surveyed (88 per cent) have taken some steps to protect their personal information. Those numbers, however, are declining as only 59 per cent of survey respondents double-checked their credit card statements compared to 65 per cent two years ago when Equifax conducted a similar survey.

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

Fraud alerts are an effective way to help identify suspicious activity and help consumers better protect themselves against identity theft. A fraud alert is a notice that is placed on your credit reports that alerts credit card companies and others who may extend you credit that you may have been a victim of fraud, including identity theft. Consumers can place a fraud alert on their Equifax credit reports by calling: 1-866-828-5961.

Equifax surveyed 1,565 Canadians ages 18-65, Feb. 1-4. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.  To read the full report click on the link below

Source: Equifax Press Release