Identity Theft

Half of Millennials Are Oversharing Their Credit Info

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I was born in a generation when the household shared one or two phones. My daughter, though, was born in a generation when everyone has at least one personal cell phone or mobile device that they carry around with them always.

While the advancement in technology has been great – it’s convenient and fast, and those mobile devices are very powerful – it comes with a shadow side that is not very pleasant to think about: oversharing. No, I’m not talking about posting too many pictures on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. Rather, I’m talking about oversharing credit information, and today’s modern mobile users don’t fully appreciate the consequences of doing so.

In a recent study by Visa Canada, the credit card issuer found some alarming statistics about credit oversharing among 18- to 34-year-olds. And although this study was performed in Canada, I have no doubt that we in the U.S. will see similarly alarming percentages among our youth.

The study found that, among the 18- to 34-year-old demographic, nearly half shared their credit card info via email or text and didn’t keep their PINs private.

This is scary.

Potential for Fraud

People trust their friends, but what they fail to realize is that sharing information on a mobile device is not private. In fact, there are so many ways that the information can fall into the wrong hands: The friend can lose their phone or loan it to someone else; they can accidentally forward the information to others; their phone or email system can be easily hacked.

That’s assuming that their friend is trustworthy. However, we all know that friends aren’t always trustworthy, and friendships don’t always last. A bitter ending of a friendship can take on scary consequences if a disgruntled ex-friend now has your credit card.

That’s why sharing your credit card isn’t just a matter of giving your actual credit card to a friend and watching while they use it (which you shouldn’t do anyway). This is more like posting your credit card information on a wall and hoping no one else but your friend sees it.

It’s dangerous and it should be something you have a “no tolerance” policy for. If you have a loved one who is an avid mobile user, caution them against this practice.

We already have too much information (TMI) when it comes to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram… let’s not also include the costlier credit TMI in our lives as well!

Image: iStockphoto

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