The most common crime isn’t being taken seriously by Americans or Big Business.

It’s the crime of the century. Identity theft afflicts 12 million Americans a year, but two recent studies show we’re not motivated to do much about it. has reported before that we make identity theft too easy, but now we learn nearly a third of treasury and financial pros “are unprepared for new tech risks,” according to the Association for Financial Professionals.

What are those risks?

“Today’s risks center less around traditional finance and more on new technology like artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotic processes and malware,” says AFP president Jim Kaitz. “To meet these challenges, treasury and finance executives must acquire new skills and knowledge — even a new mindset.”

If professionals who deal with money all day long don’t have the right mindset, what about the youngest Americans who grew up coveting technology? Another study says they don’t know and don’t care about many forms of identity theft.

Tech savvy, yet cybersecurity ignorant

Generation Z (18-24 year olds) grew up with smartphones, even more so than millennials. Yet it’s the generation least likely to identify ransomware, the identity theft used to block access to your computer until a sum of money is paid to release it.

Ransomware is carried out by hackers. They send suspicious emails out in hopes to bait victims into clicking a link. Once you click, they “kidnap” your valuable data until you pay a ransom.

Less than a quarter of Generation Z (24 percent) are able to define what it is. Even though 36 percent say they’ve been or know someone who has been a victim, says Webroot cybersecurity.

Surprisingly, 47 percent of baby boomers can accurately define ransomware, despite not growing up with the internet.

Baby boomers are also the most likely to receive suspicious emails. Almost three quarters (73 percent) have, but only (27 percent) fall for it. Almost all (94 percent) know not to forward the email.

It’s too bad identity theft literacy isn’t taught in schools. Then again, school websites don’t do a bang up job protecting information themselves.

Public schools’ identity theft problem

Education research company EdTech Strategies performed a four-month-long review of public education websites and found that most don’t support secure web browsing.

On top of that many have user tracking and surveillance technology for advertising companies. They track what web users search and click on to get an idea of how to market to a mass audience.

Most (63 percent) of state education websites have a privacy policy disclosure statement on them, according to EdTech. However, at least 10 states have made misleading or false statements, says a study from EdTech Strategies.

Even worse, only 12 percent of local school district websites had a privacy policy on their websites.

“State department of education and school district websites have become indispensable for accessing information about public schools and to communicating with school officials,” says Douglas Levin, president of EdTech Strategies and study director. “However, analyses of education agency websites suggest a widespread lack of attention to issues of online security and privacy.”

If finding out schools don’t protect your information shocks you wait until you read how many fraud incidents occur when you shop online.

Online shopping: an identity thief’s favorite tool

Credit card companies adding EMV, or Europay, MasterCard, Visa chips, to cards has made it nearly impossible for identity thieves to steal information while shopping in stores. But online identity theft has increased plenty since credit card companies added them, says a study from Radial.

What was supposed to be the answer to credit card companies fraud problems wasn’t, CNN reported August 2016.

The chip is nearly impossible to counterfeit, CNN says. But cyber thieves are still able to rewrite the code on the strip of the cards. Though many stores upgraded to the chip system, many forget to conceal the data released when a transaction is made.

Between that, digital gift cards and a massive data breach last year, fraudsters have had a field day with our online shopping information.

“As of September 2017, data breaches ─ at least the ones we know about ─ were 375 percent higher than 2016,” says KC Fox, VP of payments, tax and fraud at Radial. “Combine that with the majority of retailers being EMV compliant, and it’s Christmas every day for cyber criminals.”



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Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of


Baby Boomers, gen z, identity theft, internet security, shop online

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Article last modified on September 18, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Identity Theft: Don’t Know, Don’t Care - AMP.