Young Canadians Reckless with Valuable Financial Information Online, Survey Finds

A significant number of young Canadians who regularly post personal information on social network sites are putting themselves at unnecessary risk by mirroring similar oversharing behaviour offline with their payment card information, suggests a survey released this week by Visa Canada to mark the start of Fraud Prevention Month.

The survey uncovers a “concerning trend,” which is that 45% of 18-to-34 year olds reported taking risks with their payment card information, such as loaning their card to someone or sharing their payment card information over email, phone, or text. According to the survey, this age group also reported the highest level of online sharing activities, including keeping an open profile on a social network site, posting to a social media site at least once a day, publically sharing photos, and posting their employment history online.

Among those aged 35 and older, only 32% reported taking risks with their payment card information and also share less personal information online.

‘While Canadians as a whole are becoming more aware of fraud risks, many are still engaging in risky behaviours when it comes to payment cards—and young Canadians are especially vulnerable because they are so used to sharing personal information online,” explains Gord Jamieson, Head of Payment System Risk for Visa Canada. “But many young people don’t realize they are putting themselves at risk for fraud when they share their personal payment card information, both online and offline.”

Oversharing financial information can indeed leave individuals vulnerable to fraud, Visa says. Among respondents who reported engaging in risky behavior, 43% have experienced some form of payment card fraud. Conversely, among those who had not engaged in risky behaviour, only 19% have been victims.

The survey also showed that few Canadians are taking simple steps to stay ahead of fraudsters, Visa says. Just 10% check their credit report on an annual basis, only 17% have set up alerts to monitor card activity, and 41% report checking their payment card statement more than once a month.

56% of Canadians are more concerned about identity theft today than they were five years, while 6% are less concerned. In addition, half of Canadians are more concerned about payment card fraud and consumer privacy today than they were five years ago, with just 7% less concerned.