Is your smartphone a friend or foe?

Millennials may be the most smartphone-savvy generation yet, but that doesn't mean they are doing everything they can to minimize their risk of fraud when it comes to their mobile devices.

In fact, according to a new survey from TD, nearly three-quarters of Canadian millennials feel at risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime. Yet, most keep an abundance of personal data on their phones, making them particularly vulnerable to fraud if they don't use simple, but critical measures to protect themselves.

The survey also found that nearly 23 per cent of millennials don't use the screen-lock password feature on their device  and 19 per cent will keep a list of passwords stored on their device. When creating a password, sixty-seven per cent use the same password or a slightly different version of a password, such as adding a number to the end of a letter-based password.

Protecting yourself doesn't mean giving up your smartphone, it's all in how you use it.  Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Think of your password as a guard that stands between your personal information and potential online risks
  • Be aware that your mobile device is vulnerable to fraudsters if left unlocked.  All mobile phones can be locked by a screen-lock password.
  • If your device was lost, but then recovered or replaced, be aware that your banking information may have been compromised.
  • If you lose your device, be sure to notify your financial institution and review your banking information online.

Taking precautionary measures is just one vital step in preventing personal fraud attacks. Staying informed about the common types of fraud is also crucial.

For example, those who frequent social media sites, including millennials, should be aware of angler phishing—a newer trend among fraudsters where a fake brand support page is created on social media platforms in order to re-direct people to phishing websites. By impersonating a business's social media team, they gain trust and request sensitive personal data, like a social insurance number, or banking information.

As March is Fraud Prevention Month, it is important that Canadians keep financial fraud top of mind to better protect themselves and their loved ones.