The survey found that consumers appreciate how much technology has improved their lives, but the risk of their personal information being exposed certainly is on their minds.
Most consumers (83 percent of survey respondents) agree that technology has enhanced their daily life in areas such as connecting with the people they care about (51 percent) and gaining access to knowledge or education (50 percent). Thirty percent of surveyed consumers say technology helps their financial status, and slightly more (33 percent) say it allows them to be more engaged with the products they use. They also would be even more connected, if possible, than they are today (80 percent).
While using technology, many people are not managing their privacy and understand identity theft is a risk. Only 36 percent of survey respondents review privacy policies when notified of changes by institutions they do business with, and just 28 percent review privacy policies of mobile apps before downloading them. Ninety-three percent feel identity theft is a growing problem, while 91 percent believe that people should be more concerned about the issue. Online activities that generate the most concern include making an online purchase (73 percent), using public Wi-Fi (69 percent) and accessing online accounts (69 percent).
Consumers are vigilant while online: Most respondents are concerned they will fall victim to identity theft in the future (71 percent), resulting in a generally proactive approach to protecting personal information. In fact, almost 50 percent of survey respondents say they are taking more precautions compared with last year. Ninety-one percent take steps to secure physical information, such as shredding documents, while also securing digital information (using passwords and antivirus software). Many consumers also make sure to check their credit report (33 percent) and bank account statements (76 percent) at least once per month.
There’s still room for consumers to be safer. Though many consumers are practicing good security habits, some aren’t:
- More than 50 percent do not check to see if a Website is secure
- Fifty percent do not have all of their Web-enabled devices password-protected because it is a hassle to enter a password (30 percent) or they do not feel it is necessary (25 percent)
- Fifty-five percent do not close the Web browser when they are finished using an online account
- Additionally, 15 percent keep a written record of passwords and PINs in their purse or wallet or on a mobile device or computer
Securing your identity in the digital age:
- Change passwords regularly
- Avoid sharing personally identifying information, such as your full birth date, on social networks
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi hot spots, which make it easy for thieves to hack into the information stored on your mobile devices
- Password-protect your phone since it provides access to sensitive information and accounts
- Enable remote location and wiping software on your phone, allowing you to track it and wipe all data if it’s lost or stolen
- Review credit reports regularly and watch for signs of fraud
- Consider enrolling in identity theft protection monitoring and take action if you receive alerts that your identity could be compromised
About the survey
The online survey was conducted by Edelman Berland on behalf of Experian from Sept. 14 to 18, 2015, among 1,002 adults ages 18 and older who reside in the United States. This online survey is not based on a probability sample; therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.