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Canadians Unsure What to Do Post-Identity Theft

An overwhelming majority of Canadians reported that they wouldn't know what actions to take if their identity were stolen in a data breach, according to new research from dragonfly id.

Partnering with ThinkHatch and Haven Insights, dragonfly id surveyed 425 Canadians over the course of four days in early March 2018. The goal of the survey was to understand how much Canadians know about the steps they should take to retrieve data in the aftermath of an identity breach. Results showed that 83% of respondents don't know what to do to restore their identities.   

Given the current state of the economy, the number of data breaches being reported daily and the impact identity theft has on both companies and consumers, younger respondents agreed that it's important to educate consumers on the need to have a restoration service in place for when a breach does happen.

"As age increased, concerns about online identity theft of personal data and records tended to decline," according to a 30 May press release issued by dragonfly id.

A majority (65%) of respondents also said that they really don't understand how criminals are able to compromise their identities online. Only 5% of respondents said they have a good understanding of the way thieves can steal personal information. 

Of the respondents, 46% believe it would take fewer than 50 hours to restore someone's identity after it was stolen. 

Karey Davidson, president of dragonfly id, said that a low-level identity theft breach could take between two to five weeks to resolve. However, if an attacker engages in a more sophisticated and comprehensive attack and gains access to more detailed identity information, recovering one's identity could take up to six months.

"Canadians are becoming increasingly more concerned with the impact of identity theft on their personal and financial lives. They are unsure about how to deal with the fraud that can result [in] and, in particular, the time and the steps that it takes to resolve a breach," Davidson said in the press release. 

Earlier this month, Peter Boys, Canadian Association of Farm Advisors wrote an opinion piece in The Stettler Independent. Boys noted that according to a recent annual fraud survey commissioned by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), Canadians are growing increasingly more concerned about identity theft.

Recognizing that citizens are fearful that businesses in Canada are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks, Boys warned, "Fraud comes in many different forms, from credit card theft, mail theft, mortgage fraud, [and] skimming to hacking. In today’s ever-evolving economy, change is rapid, and the threat of fraud is constant. Canadians are strongly encouraged to be aggressive in protecting themselves against fraud."

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