More than half of Utah residents either are identity theft victims or know someone affected by the crime New study from Experian's ProtectMyID® reveals the habits that make people vulnerable
COSTA MESA, Calif., April 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/-- A new online survey conducted for Experian's ProtectMyID® reveals Utahns still are potentially at risk from the continuing threat of identity theft. The survey shows that more than half (52 percent) of Utah residents either have been a victim of identity theft or know someone who has been affected by the crime. Despite this, people fail to take even simple steps to protect themselves, with 56 percent reporting that they do not check credit reports regularly as a means to identify fraudulent activity.
The statewide study surveyed 1,055 consumers about their knowledge and behaviors related to identity theft. The survey reveals Utah residents take some steps to keep their personal information safe, but further efforts could be made, particularly surrounding technology and online activities. Survey results indicate that only 50 percent use passwords to protect their smartphones or tablets, and 17 percent admit that they allow strangers to join their social media circles.
"Many people don't think about identity theft until it happens, and this survey shows that Utahns could take more steps to protect their identities," said Ken Chaplin, senior vice president of marketing for Experian's ProtectMyID. "Simple things, such as checking your credit report for signs of fraud or changing passwords regularly, can go a long way in the fight against identity theft."
Additional survey findings
Many Utahns indicated which precautions they do and don't take to avoid identity theft.
Good habits mean less risk
- Eighty-three percent of those surveyed avoid sharing their Social Security numbers unless required by law
- To check for activity that isn't theirs, 77 percent of those surveyed check their account statements as soon as they arrive
- Seventy-six percent of those surveyed keep antivirus and antimalware programs up to date on all of their computers
Bad habits leave identities exposed
- Fifty percent of those surveyed do not use different passwords for each of their online accounts
- Forty-eight percent of those surveyed do not shred cancelled checks
- Fifty-eight percent have not reviewed their credit reports, to watch for signs of identity theft, in more than six months
Few are aware of the dangers of medical identity theft
- Sixty-two percent of those surveyed have not heard of medical identity theft
- For those familiar with medical identity theft, 7 percent were either victims of the crime or knew a family member who was
- Thirty-one percent of those familiar with medical identity theft were not aware that it can affect one's credit score
Tips to safeguard your identity
- Change passwords on a regular basis
- Avoid sharing personally identifying information (like your birthday) on social networks
- Shred financial documents before disposing of them
- Review credit reports regularly and watch for signs of fraud
- Have a partner in the fight against identity theft; enroll in identity monitoring and take action if you receive alerts that your identity could be compromised
About the survey
The online survey was conducted by Qualtrics on behalf of Experian from March 24 through 27, 2014, among 1,055 adults ages 18 and older residing in Utah. 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.
About Experian's ProtectMyID
ProtectMyID is a leading, full-service provider of identity theft detection, protection and resolution. ProtectMyID offers identity theft protection supported by experienced identity theft resolution professionals who deliver personal attention that customers can rely on. ProtectMyID.com® is a Website owned by ConsumerInfo.com® Inc., an Experian company. For more information about how ProtectMyID helps consumers protect themselves against identity theft, please visit http://www.protectmyid.com.
Experian® is a leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.
Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2013, was US$4.7 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com.
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