More Than 143 Million Americans Are Concerned That Personal and Financial Information Will Not Be Kept Private and Secure on the Internet

Mar 12, 2007, 01:00 ET from

    BETHESDA, Md., March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 143 million Americans
 -- or two thirds of all adults 18 years or older -- are concerned that
 their personal and financial information would not be kept private and
 secure if they prepared state and federal tax returns on the Internet,
 according to a new national poll. A poll ten years ago found that 83
 percent of Americans had similar concerns.
     Both surveys were commissioned by, the only Web site
 that provides both personal and business tax preparation services online,
 and which developed the first guaranteed secure Internet-based income tax
 preparation service.
     In the latest poll:
                -- 66 percent said they were "very" or "somewhat" concerned
                   about the safety of their information
                -- Those most likely to be "very concerned" about the privacy
                   and security of their information included individuals with
                   less than a high school education (47 percent), are retired
                   (41 percent), are not employed (44 percent), and have annual
                   household incomes under $25,000 (48 percent)
                -- Individuals with a post graduate education were most likely
                   to be "not concerned at all" (41 percent)
     The poll of 1,000 adults was conducted March 2 -- 4, 2007 by Synovate,
 and has a margin of error of plus or minus four percent.
     In 1997, a similar poll found that less than 15 percent
 of adults "had no concerns at all" versus 32 percent in 2007. spokesperson Mickey Macedo said he was surprised by the
 increased complacency.
     "Despite recent high profile media reports about identity theft and the
 tampering or stealing of government and corporate computer files, a greater
 percentage of Americans apparently think it won't happen to them if they
 prepare their taxes online. This increased complacency applies to both men
 and women, all age groups and income categories, and almost all education
 levels," Macedo said.
     "People should not assume the best, but the worst. When it comes to
 protecting the privacy and security of your financial and personal records,
 it is better to be safe than sorry. You should only deal with online
 companies or use Web sites that can guarantee the safety of your
 information," he said.
     Macedo observed that "what we said ten years ago when we released our
 first Internet security survey still holds true today: Based on the
 Internet's proven and continued vulnerability to vandalism, tampering and
 break-ins, the American people have good reason to be worried and skeptical
 about cyber- security. Until adequate and fool-proof protective measures
 are in place, it's doubtful that the Internet will ever be able to achieve
 its full potential or be completely trusted by those who use it."