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Americans' Cyber-Fears Spike in 2016

Cybersecurity fear is up 20% among Americans, who say they are extremely or very concerned about cyber-threats.

That’s up from 46% in 2015 to 55% in 2016, according to TransUnion’s annual survey, which showed that one of the top issues is identity theft. In fact, 83% of consumers are extremely, very or somewhat concerned about this.

Respondents reported feeling most susceptible to email hacking, with 40% ranking it as the greatest threat to their online security, followed by online credit card theft (38%) and cell phone theft (35%).

“Our survey reflects the growing fear among Americans about the threats to their personal and financial information,” said Heather Battison, vice president of TransUnion. “People are more vulnerable than ever to cyber threats and consumers must protect and closely monitor their information.”

That said, intended behavior doesn’t match actual behavior as only 45% report locking their phone with a password and 51% change their passwords frequently. Also, nearly three quarters (72%) of consumers said they would report an issue to a bank or credit institution—but only 40% of those who said their identity had been stolen actually did. 

Similarly, 63% said they would implement a credit freeze or fraud alert on a breached account, but only 26% of victims actually did so. And while 62% of consumers plan to cancel a bank or credit card following a breach, only 36% did so in reality.

The survey also showed that men are more fearful than the ladies. A full 62% of men are concerned about their cybersecurity, compared to only 49% of women. However, women take more protective measures—74% of women regularly check their bank statements for fraudulent activity compared to 67% of men.

“Cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to steal your information,” said Battison. “At least 400,000 consumers called the TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance Department (FVAD) between January and June 2016, a number that may rise if protective measures aren’t taken. We’re here to help consumers navigate any fraud, but the best results come from taking proactive, preventive measures before a breach.”

Photo © Creativa Images

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