Are millennials not worried about fraud?

Is the most tech-savvy generation also the least careful online? Not exactly.

  Billions of stolen personal records are flying around the cybersphere, $16.8 billion were stolen last year in the U.S alone. And yet, millennials are the least worried about fraud. Why is that?   Steve is 28 years old, has at least three online devices, only watches streaming media on his smart TV, and relies on Google to find the closest pizza joint when he is hungry. Steve is also our made-up character for this article.

Our friend Steve is like most millennials: he develops half of his activities on the World Wide Web and often shares his information with third-party companies to access free products. Millennials, – including Steve and myself – among the many labels we’ve been given, we also have the ‘Most Digitally Savvy’ label.

Does that mean we are invincible to fraudsters? We apparently think so because based on an online quiz: 80% of people thought they could spot a fraudulent message, but actually, less than 1% do.

Yes, millennials are the most tech-savvy, but that may just be the problem. According to a 2013 survey by Marble Security, 26.2% of millennials have had their accounts hacked – higher than the national average of 21.4%.

This is a direct consequence of how this generation takes care of their personal data. If you ask someone born between the years 1980 and 2000 how many times they have connected to an unprotected public Wi-Fi, they will probably look at you puzzled and say, “Do I have to count all of them?” A study by Raytheon gives us an answer: “72% of millennials have connected to public Wi-Fi networks without passwords.”

Millenials are also guilty of other classic fraud-prevention mistakes such as sharing passwords with non-family members (23%), never changing passwords (20%), or reusing passwords across accounts (82%) – First Data report numbers.

Why do we do this? The answer is simple. Let’s go back to Steve, he is about to buy a 4 for 1 pizza offer from, and the site is asking for his personal information and payment details. Steve thinks “Hmm, not comfortable with this.” But then, what else can Steve do? Lose that offer? Go to another home-delivery pizza site and start over? Move from the couch and walk down the rainy streets to a pizza shop to buy it in person? That sounds like a lot of work, and us millennials were not born to suffer and get wet for a pizza like our parents had to. In the end, Steve, like most millennials, thinks “OK, for this one time, I will hit Submit and hope for the best.”

Let’s be honest, how many times have you done like Steve?

Millennials are the most contradictory sector of the population: they know the risks, they know the technology, they know the different types of fraud, but when it comes to their own actions to protect themselves, they slack.

However, it’s not true that millennials don’t care about online security, they just care about it in different ways. They do more research to find solutions that can protect their data and online activities so that they don’t have to do it themselves.

These measures can be summarized in two:

1. Looking up to the cloud

Younger users are starting to move their data to cloud services instead of beefing up their on-device security. They believe that big security brands can provide more safety than the one they can get natively.

2. More passwords, less memorization

Millennials don’t use the strongest passwords but are the ones with a higher number of distinct passwords; between three to five. At least one third are also more likely to use password managers to organize their secret codes and use two-factor authentication.

We can’t forget that fraudsters are full-time employees determined to steal your money or the company’s money and, if there is anything you can do to avoid that, – especially if you are a millennial – you should do it. Even if that means buying your pizza from somewhere else.     —   Related to this post: Our Risky Mobile Addiction   Authenticating on today’s breached world? Watch our webinar featuring Forrester analyst firm. Want to read more posts like this? See our full blog here.