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Fraud and identity theft on the rise

par The IJ Staff | March 15 2019 01:30PM

Fraud and identity theft are increasing, suggests a report issued this week by Equifax Canada. Despite this rising threat, however, fewer people are taking steps to protect their personal information such as double-checking their financial statements, shredding personal documents, or installing security software on their computers, says Equifax.

Credit card fraud

Data flagged by financial institutions and tracked by Equifax showed that attempts of credit card fraud have increased by 42 per cent over the last two years.

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, says Equifax.

Millennials targeted

The data also showed that in 2018 millennials were targeted in 48 per cent of all fraudulent credit card applications. However, at the same time, the results of an Equifax consumer survey suggest that millennials are less likely to be concerned about identity theft and fraud and feel less vulnerable vs. the general population.

The survey indicated that 37 per cent of Canadians say they have been victims of identity theft or fraud at some point, and 88 per cent of consumers surveyed 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.

Also, 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, says the report.

A responsible habit

“Checking your credit reports is a responsible habit to practice – not just from a credit monitoring standpoint, but also from an identity theft standpoint,” said Tara Zecevic, Vice President, Fraud Prevention and Identity Management, Equifax Canada. “Additionally, Canadians can also contact us to place a free fraud alert on their Equifax credit reports.”

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