According to a report published last week by Javelin Research, individuals whose personal information has been compromised in a corporate breach are four times more likely to suffer identity theft or fraud. This result runs contrary to the common mantra among breached companies, which often say that they have no indication that the compromised data has been used by criminals.
"Data breach notifications are intended to help consumers take protective action," said Mary Monahan, managing partner and research director at Javelin. "Notification is critical because consumers are over four times more likely to encounter actual fraudulent transactions if they receive a data-breach notification."
But the Javelin study also indicates that most consumers don't see a direct relationship between breach notifications and identity theft.
"During each of the past three years, an average of 11 percent of consumers received a breach notification," Javelin said. "Slightly more than 33 percent of breach victims experienced exposure of their Social Security numbers, and 15 percent of breach victims had their ATM PINs compromised. [But] despite 19.5 percent of breach victims suffering some kind of fraud in the past year, only 2 percent attribute their fraud to the breach."
The Javelin report, "Data Breach Notifications: Victims Face Four Times Higher Risk of Fraud," is based on multiple years of data and includes updates on 2009 data breaches. The report also presents a timeline overview of the most recent and egregious data breaches in U.S. history, with recommendations for how individuals and companies can increase safety.
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