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Millennials Are Cyber-Slackers When it Comes to Security

Blame the wisdom that comes only with age: Millennials are the least likely generation to actively protect their data, despite being the most concerned with their cybersecurity.

According to a TransUnion survey, roughly half (49%) of millennials, those 18-34 years old, say they are extremely or very concerned about cybercrime. But, they put themselves at a higher risk by doing things like checking financial accounts on public Wi-Fi (84%), not using a password on their phone (67%) and storing bank account information on phones (86%).

In contrast, Baby Boomers report the least concern with cyber-threats, but do the most to protect themselves. They use firewall protection (83%), shredding documents prior to disposal (75%) and using long passwords (71%).

“Cybercriminals don’t care about your age; they just want access to your identity and credit,” said Ken Chaplin, senior vice president, TransUnion. “It is important for people of all ages to be aware of the behaviors that make them vulnerable to identity theft and to not sacrifice security for convenience.”

The survey also revealed that most respondents across generations lack a clear understanding of how certain behaviors put them at risk for fraud. But here too, Boomers showed themselves much more likely to take extra precautions, such as using firewall protections (83% compared to 63% of millennials), shredding documents before disposing of them (75% compared to 53% of millennials), and removing a hard drive before disposing of a computer (60% compared to 44% of millennials).

To put things in perspective, millennials are about equally afraid of being in a plane crash (51%) as they are of having their identity stolen, even though they are exponentially more likely to face the latter. The chance of experiencing a plane crash is one in 54 million, while 19 people experience identity theft every minute.

“The staggering rate of identity theft is an unfortunate reality and requires constant vigilance to safeguard personal and finance information,” said Chaplin. “Regardless of age, all credit-active consumers should use a credit monitoring tool. Credit monitoring allows you to quickly assess your credit report for any suspicious activity that could be tied to identity theft.”

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