According to a small survey of 250 18- to 34- year olds, 33% would rather have their identity stolen than have their Facebook activities be publicly available. While this is a very small representation of millennials, it shows a disturbing lack of knowledge or care over something that could derail their financial life before it ever really gets on track.
More than any other generation, millennials have grown up with their lives in the social media spotlight. Privacy and personal boundaries have an entirely different definition to this population then generations before. This makes them prime targets for scammers and thieves that can use that information to cause financial havoc.
Even if you think that it can’t happen to you, here are a few tips that will help make you less of a target for identity theft.
Protect your Online Presence
We are all guilty of being lazy about this, but a few simple steps will help keep your identity more secure.
- Log out of social networks when you are finished using them.
- Put passwords on all of your electronic devices.
- Be wary of public Wi-Fi and consider purchasing software that will block your personal information while you are on public Wi-Fi.
Some thieves still steal your identity the old fashioned way by taking it out of your trash on trash day, so invest in a shredder. Shred all mail that includes personal, financial, and medical information. Even if it looks like unwanted junk mail, if it contains your information a skilled identity thief can use that to make your life miserable.
The more you know about your financial situation the easier it will be to spot any inaccuracies. Don’t just toss your bank statement or put aside your credit card statement until you pay it. The quicker you notice and start to take action on identity theft the less it will hurt your financial situation. A good rule of thumb is to go over your financial transaction online every few days, but don’t forget to follow up with the hard copy statement at the end of the month.
For more information about how credit card fraud and identity theft can derail your finances, click here.