Two Out of Three U.S. Adults Worry about Hackers Stealing Personal Information and Identity Theft

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Two-thirds of adults in the United States worry about becoming victims of cybercrime with 67 percent worrying at least occasionally about computer hackers stealing their personal information and 66 percent worrying at least occasionally about identity theft, according to the Gallup Annual Crime Poll.

The Gallup Crime Poll found one in four Americans – 25 percent – reported they or a member of their household had personal information stolen by hackers in the last 12 months, while sixteen percent of U.S. adults reported they or a member of their household were victims of identity theft during that time.

Since 2009, Gallup News found the anxiety Americans feel about identity theft has consistently topped their fears about other crimes by at least 19 percentage points. In 2017, the gap between fear of identity theft and the next-greatest level of crime worry – having a car broken into – was 28 percentage points.

Cybercrimes are new additions to the list of crimes for the Gallup Annual Crime Poll. U.S. adults have been asked about identity theft since 2009, and the percentage of Americans who worry frequently or occasionally about being a victim of identity theft has hovered between 66 percent and 70 percent.

The Gallup Annual Crime Poll was conducted October 5 to 11, 2017, on a random sample of 1,028 adults aged 18 and older living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. More information about the Gallup Poll is at http://news.gallup.com/poll/221270/cybercrime-tops-americans-crime-worries.aspx.

The consistently high anxiety Americans feel about cybercrimes such as hackers stealing personal data and identity theft may be attributed to the steady stream of reports about large-scale high-profile data breach incidents. ESR News has reported on many data breach incidents over the past few years.

In September 2017, ESR News reported that nationwide credit reporting agency Equifax disclosed it had suffered a massive data breach that compromised the personal data of approximately 143 million Americans — almost half the country – a number later increased by 2.5 million to total 145.5 million.

In May 31 2017, ESR News reported that national retailer Target, Inc. agreed to pay a record $18.5 million multi-state settlement in response to allegations that more than 40 million customers had their payment card information compromised from a data breach during the 2013 holiday season.

In September 2016, ESR News reported that technology company Yahoo confirmed information that included names, email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, passwords, and security questions was stolen from 500 million Yahoo user accounts in a massive data breach in late 2014.

In March 2016, ESR News reported that Home Depot Inc. agreed to pay $19.5 million – $13 million to settle class action lawsuits and $6.5 million for identity theft protection services – to compensate approximately 40 to 50 million consumers affected by a massive data breach in 2014.

ESR Protects Consumer Information Against Identity Theft

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a global background check firm – undergoes annual SOC 2 audits to ensure it meets American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) standards to protect consumer information against identity theft. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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