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ID theft disconnect: We fear it but still engage in risky behavior

By Sienna Kossman
Published: February 03, 2014

Sienna Kossman
Personal finance writer
Statistics enthusiast focused on data-driven content

As reports of sensitive information breaches increase, the widespread fear of identity theft follows. However, a survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Experian's ProtectMyID  reveals that consumers are still at a high risk for identity theft as many continue putting their identities and resources in danger with risky behavior.

ProtectMyID's survey of 2,000 U.S. adult consumers confirmed that a fear of identity theft is prevalent: 93 percent of consumers acknowledged that identity theft is a growing problem and 67 percent worried that identity theft will affect them personally.

Three of every five survey respondents (61 percent) admitted that it wouldn't be difficult for someone to steal their identity.

And no wonder. According to the survey, released Oct. 21, 2013, Americans under-protect their digital devices and overexpose their personal data through risky online shopping habits. For example, 43 percent of smartphone owners report rarely or never using a password to protect their device.  Ninety-one percent of adult consumers shop online, but 55 percent don't check to make sure a site is secure before completing a transaction.

Exposing too much information on public social media sites and freely writing Social Security numbers on job applications and medical forms are just a couple other common practices that could jeopardize one's identity, according to the report.

"This survey clearly shows that, while people are more aware and concerned about identity theft, they are not doing what they should to be protected, especially when it comes to online activities," Ken Chaplin, senior vice president of marketing for Experian's ProtectMyID,  said in a press release. "Consumers clearly don't want to become victims, yet they continue to put themselves in danger."



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