18 Apr 2016

Reliance on phones leaves youngsters vulnerable to fraud risk

Over one in five of 18-24 year olds (21%) store PIN numbers for credit or debit cards on their personal devices, such as smartphones, tablets or laptops, according to research conducted by Equifax in conjunction with Gorkana.

Over a third of 18-24 year olds (38%) surveyed also use their personal devices to store passwords to access online accounts. This leaves them increasingly exposed to online fraud if their phone is stolen or hacked. Once a device is breached, fraudsters can use data stored on it to access accounts, and also use a combination of data found to try to steal an individual’s identity.

Across all age groups, 16% store passwords on personal devices, followed by PIN numbers (10%), bank account number/sort codes (10%) and answers to security questions for online accounts (6%). Almost twice as many males than females are likely to store passwords and PIN numbers on their devices (21% compared to 11% and 14% compared to 7% respectively).

John Marsden, Head of ID and Fraud, Equifax, commented: “Despite strong advice from banks never to write down your PIN, people are still storing sensitive data on their personal devices. Fraud figures are booming and fraudsters are developing new ways to steal data at a frightening rate. Our advice is simple: never store sensitive personal data on your devices in a recognisable format.

“Your device doesn’t even need to be physically taken for the data on it to be accessed. Fraudsters are establishing bogus WiFi hotspots, for example in coffee shops. They appear genuine but an unsuspecting consumer connecting to a fraudulent network could have their personal data stolen. Becoming a victim of fraud can be expensive and very time consuming to deal with - people need to be aware of the risks and protect themselves.”