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Less Than Half of Consumers Take Protective Steps Post-Breach

New data on consumer behavior and identity theft shows most don't protect themselves after their personal data is compromised.

Fewer than 50% of consumers take basic protective steps after their personal information is stolen, according to a report from CyberScout and the Identity Resource Center (ITRC). Most people don't know how to resolve the problem of identity theft and are left vulnerable, the report found.

The study polled consumers who had experienced a data breach that exposed their personal data, and explored the different ways consumers reacted to the incident. Eighty percent of the 317 respondents understood a data breach heightened their risk for identity theft and financial harm, but 49.3% were confused about the right steps to take following a breach notification.

More than one-third (38%) say they would contact their bank for support. However, experts note, banks are only obligated to help with bank account or credit card fraud, and not fraud related to Social Security Numbers or other sensitive data. Only 3.8% would turn to their insurance company for help, despite policies covering identity theft and monitoring, and 31.5% would not know where to turn.

The lack of direction is primarily driving feelings of frustration, anger, and anxiety, report 77% of consumers.

Forty-one percent say they would never again do business with a breached company - a problem for organizations with a history of breaches. If customers exposed by the Equifax breach share the same feelings of anxiety and frustration as those in the survey, researchers explain, millions will be vulnerable to identity theft and financial damage.

Read details about the findings here.

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