Experian research has revealed a growing generational divide in the way the UK population manages its online identities. Millennials are at high risk from online identity fraud as they favour convenience over any security concerns.However, there is a divergence in the way different age groups conduct themselves online, causing inconvenience on one hand and threatening online safety on the other.
Nick Mothershaw, Director of Identity and Fraud at Experian, said: “Our research has shown that people across the generations have very different attitudes towards the way they navigate the internet and manage their online accounts, or online IDs.
“The younger generation appears to be more driven by convenience and rarely have more than five unique passwords. They are also far more likely to log in to multiple accounts using a single social media online ID. But what they may not realize is that this thirst for convenience leaves them more vulnerable to the threat of identity fraud. We’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of cases affecting this age group.”
Experian’s latest Hunter statistics show an increase of 5% year-on-year in those under 30 becoming a target of identity theft, with people living in Rental Hubs particularly vulnerable. More than 1 in 3 cases of third party fraud are carried out against this group.
At the other end of the spectrum, the older generation were found to be much more likely to use multiple passwords to log in to their online accounts, placing more value on a cautious approach to security at the expense of convenience. 1 in 4 admitted to using a memory-straining 11 or more password combinations.
It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that a high proportion of over 55s admit to having problems remembering their codes. This memory strain is a growing problem, with four in 10 people stating that they need to use a password memory service to help them remembering all their passwords. While more than half (55%) of those surveyed admit to using the same password for multiple online IDs.
Experian also found there is significant confusion about what an online ID is – with 1 in 3 (31%) of those surveyed admitting they did not know and a further 61% choosing different definitions to explain an online identity.
Three in 5 (61%) people in the UK admit they don’t always understand what they are agreeing to when they sign up for a new profile online, with 1 in 9 (11%) conceding they never understand.
“The typical person in the UK has an estimated 26 online accounts, or online IDs, with between six and 10 passwords that they use regularly,” added Mothershaw. “As convenience becomes increasingly important to consumers, the all too familiar and often frustrating process of answering several security questions to prove who you are, and recover your password, could become unsustainable. We may well have reached peak password.”
Experian offers some proactive steps people can take against fraud:
Notes to Editors:
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