A survey released Feb. 20 by Capital One, a credit card company, says that 71 per cent of Canadians are aware of the impact identity theft can have on their personal finances, including their credit scores. However, only 53 per cent of those surveyed say they are taking precautions to protect themselves, such as managing social media account settings.
Only 39 per cent of those surveyed said they know what their credit score is, with 21 per cent saying they regularly check their credit report. The survey also showed that only 12 per cent of consumers use a credit score monitoring tool.
On the positive side, most Canadians do actively protect themselves against fraud by not sharing their P.I.N. (88 per cent) or by regularly monitoring their online banking and credit card accounts (76 per cent). But only 20 per cent have enabled transactional push notifications on their mobile device, says the survey.
Millennials aware of potential impacts
The survey found, however, that millennials are “hyper-aware” of the potential impact of identity theft compared to baby boomers. Their main concerns are their ability to make a milestone purchase such as a home or condo (65 per cent compared to 50 per cent of boomers), and the impact on their mental health (49 per cent compared to 31 per cent of boomers).
Capital One offered tips to protect against identity theft and transaction fraud. The company suggested reviewing and using fraud detection features offered by many credit cards, such as two-way fraud alerts and purchase notifications. It advised consumers to report fraud immediately and to notify their bank right away if they lose their wallet or credit card. In addition, it strongly suggested that consumers monitor their credit score.