Young People Are At The Most Risk of Credit Card Fraud & Identity Theft

Credit card securityWhat if your purse or wallet was stolen today? What would your first step be? Cry? Run after the person that stole it? Stand there dumbfounded that this actually happened to you?  Odds are your answer would be, all of the above.

According to Street Directory, people aged 50 years old and younger are at the highest risk of credit card fraud and identify theft; with males being at a higher risk than females.  There are a few reasons why young people are at a higher risk than their more cultured, older counterpart. Some reasons include:

  • Young People Have Multiple Credit Cards

The more credit cards an individual has to manage, the harder it is to detect fraudulent activity. 86% of people, surveyed by Saga Group Limited, indicated that they have four or more credit cards. That’s four credit card statements to review and four credit card payments to make each and every month; and that’s assuming that you actually open and read your credit card statement(s).

  • Over Half of Multi-Card Holders Carry All Cards On Their Person

We opened this article with a very realistic situation that effects many people on a daily basis. If you are carrying all of your credit, and debit, cards on your person everywhere you go, you are at a higher risk of credit card fraud. If your purse or wallet is stolen with all of your cards in it, you are giving the criminal direct access to stealing your identity and running wild with unauthorized purchases.

  • Young People Have a Laid-back Approach to Credit Card Protection

Now that your purse or wallet is stolen, what’s your next step? At the time your  response to that question may be: “I don’t know.”  But the real response should be to call your bank and credit card companies! Young people are more than likely to have a laid-back approach after credit card fraud has occurred than an older individual who more than likely will be much more reactive; mainly due to a ‘credit card fraud will “never happen to me”’ attitude.

  • Online Shopping Has Become More Common

Two words: Cyber Monday. It’s growing to an anticipation level close to that of Black Friday and is practically a non-official national holiday. The fact is, online shopping is extremely common in today’s society. In this case, criminals aren’t targeting the shopper as much as they are targeting the technology. Case in point, the Heartbleed Bug that overtook the web in April 2014.

Now, that you know what makes young people at risk for credit card fraud and identity theft, we’re providing you with three simple ways to avoid succumbing to credit card fraud.

1. Be Aware of Personal Information Shared Via Social Media

You would never share your social security or bank account number on social media, so be aware of the other personal information you may be sharing with your online community (e.g. date of birth and address). Be selective about who you’re friending and following and be more conscientious about the content of your status updates and tweets.

2. Use Cash Whenever Possible

The less plastic you swipe, the less of a financial profile there is to steal should you fall prey to credit card fraud. Frequent use of cash can also keep you in the clear of data breaches, similar to the one suffered by Target customers. Stick with good ‘ol fashioned cash when visiting at your favorite spots.

3. Be Aware of Smartphone Use

Nearly one third of smartphone users will be effected by credit card fraud than non-smartphone users. It’s easy to access online banking, pay a bill, and read secure messages on your phone than to wait until you have access to a computer. With wireless providers tightening the reigns on mobile data usage, it’s second nature for anyone with a smartphone to look for a WiFi connection wherever they go. Not so fast! Be aware of the wireless network that you are joining. It may be worth the data usage compared to suffering from credit card fraud and possible identity theft.

Trust us when we say, it’s better to be overly cautious when it comes to protecting your identity and financial future.

Kara Vincent
Kara Vincent

Kara Vincent is the Financial Officer at Lancaster Red Rose Credit Union.