Consumers know enough about identity theft to fear when it does happen, but they still engage in high-risk activities without attempts to protect themselves.
A new online survey by Harris Interactive, commissioned by Experian for ProtectMyID, reveals the risky behavior consumers still do despite knowing the effect of identity theft, and how they fail to implement basic safety measures.
Conducted from Oct. 3-7, 2013, and in support of the National Protect Your Identity Week, the survey points out that 93 percent of U.S. adults understand identity theft is an escalating security concern.
Even so, 61 percent of those who recognize the issue feel it would be easy for someone to take their identity, and 67 percent are worried they will be a victim at some point.
The national study of more than 2,000 consumer asked respondents on their views and activities associated with identity theft.
Although 89 percent of online U.S. adults say they take action to protect digital information, 55 percent admit they do not always confirm if a website is safe before shopping, and 63 percent with online accounts say they have the same password for more than one online account.
ProtectMyID SVP Ken Chaplin says the survey provides proof that people nowadays are more aware and concerned about the risks of identity theft, but they do not exert effort to stay secure, especially in online activities.
While consumers do not want their identity stolen from them, they still put themselves in jeopardy, adds Chaplin.
In addition, the survey shows 92 percent of U.S. adults are certain that people have to be more mindful of identity theft, but 33 percent are diffident or unsure they have done enough for protection.
Other Notable Findings
1. Unprotected digital devices
U.S. adults have several digital devices, but 43 percent of smartphone owners and 47 percent of tablet owners say they seldom or never use a password to unlock their device.
2. Unsafe shopping
According to the survey, 91 percent of respondents are online shoppers, but many of these U.S. adults do not protect their credit card information.
The study found that 57 percent of online shoppers in the country do not always visit sites directly by typing the name or URL in the address bar of a web browser. They are clicking links.
Clicking links frequently increases the possibility of landing on a fraudulent website created to seize personal information.
3. Excessive social networking
About 36 percent of respondents with social network profiles, such as Facebook and Twitter, manage privacy settings continually.
A lot of U.S. adults may have unknowingly exposed themselves to fraud by allowing personal information to be seen on public – 60 percent showed educational background, 44 percent showed date of birth, 36 percent showed their email address, and so on.
4. Dangerous, real-world scenarios
About 23 percent of U.S. adults admit they place their purses, jackets, or bags with wallets below the table or behind their back on a chair at a restaurant.
5. Mismanaged Social Security cards
According to the study, 46 percent of U.S. adults say they wrote their Social Security number on medical forms, job applications, and so on, and 29 percent say they carry around their Social Security card or number in their purse or wallet.