Millennials — the masters and commanders of the digital world — are putting themselves in cyber peril when it comes to online privacy and security.
It is a bit ironic that these digital sophisticates are being fooled by online scams more than older generations, but new studies by TransUnion, TrueCaller, the Better Business Bureau and other organizations have shown that Millennials are more likely than older generations to be duped by scams online, through text messages and even through phone calls.
TransUnion found that most Millennials (about 85 percent) keep bank account information in their mobile devices and access bank accounts through public, open wi-fi connections. Baby Boomers and even members of Generation X (the generation that tends to trust nothing and no one) are significantly less likely to take that type of risk with personal, financial information.
With corporate financial fraud on the rise through business email hackings, this is not just an issue surrounding Millennials’ personal information and privacy. Millennials’ employers, managers and corporate IT departments should start educational campaigns in their companies to help Millennials understand what’s at risk and how to protect competitive information at work.
Parental Control Backfires
Like many Millennial traits, this can be traced back to how Millennials were raised. Millennials grew up with parents and teachers who protected them in many ways from the dangers of the world. This included parental controls on cable television, websites designed just for youth, parental monitoring services like Disney’s Circle and more. Because many Millennials grew up in a digital world that was safe and largely trustworthy, they did not learn when to be wary or how to protect themselves.
Not all Millennials are the same, however. Within the Millennial generation, there are differences in how older (or first-wave) Millennials and younger (or second-wave) Millennials. First-wave Millennials tend to use security and anti-virus software, password managers and other tech tools to protect themselves more often and more consistently than younger Millennials, according to some studies.
Inevitably, some Millennials will learn “the hard way” about online privacy and safety when they become victims of a scam, they experience credit card or bank fraud, or their identity is stolen. Otherwise, older Millennials, Gen-X members and even Baby Boomers — the Millennials’ parents, managers and mentors — should work to instill some digital fear into members of this generation.