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Consumers worried about online security, but are they doing enough?

by Neal O'Farrell on August 30th, 2010

The Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego recently announced the findings of a study it conducted into how worried consumers are about the security of online transactions. Here are some of their findings:

  • 87% of respondents expressed significant concern about having their credit card information stolen or having merchants lose personal and financial information in a data breach.
  • 81% of respondents cited phishing emails as a significant concern.
  • 80% of respondents expressed significant concern over having their passwords stolen.
  • 77% of respondents were concerned about receiving SPAM emails.

The study went on to ask consumers what steps they take to protect themselves:

  • 51% always check the URL of links they receive in email before clicking.
  • 41% refuse to use payment methods that allow access to their bank accounts.
  • 35% regularly change passwords.

What does that tell you? Well it seems to indicate that most consumers “get it” or at least part of it – that there are serious and constant risks online, and they should be worried.

But it also indicates that most of those who “get it” don’t get it enough. If only a third of respondents follow the simplest, most basic, and most important rule of all – regularly changing a password – then it looks like we still have a long way to go.

Most consumers I work with are still doing very little to protect themselves. They rarely check their credit reports, change their passwords, scan their computers for malware or talk to their kids about online risks.

Guarding your identity is the same as guarding your health. Rather than an occasional interruption to a busy life, it should be a natural and instinctive part of everyday living. Be healthy, and be safe.

ITRC Study: Loss of Credit Card Information and Merchant Data Breach Cited As Priority Concerns To Consumers

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