STAMFORD, Conn. -- More consumers are dropping their subscriptions to credit report monitoring services than are signing up for them, signaling disinterest and disbelief in their effectiveness in protecting them from identity theft, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc.
According to the Gartner survey of 5,000 online U.S. adults in August 2007, about 12 percent of the surveyed population, or some 20.5 million U.S. consumers, currently have credit report monitoring. About half of these pay for it and the other half get it for free because of an offer made by a breached service provider (See Table 1). Already, 8 percent of the surveyed population, or an estimated 14 million users who used to pay for it, dropped their subscriptions. Another 8 percent, or 14.6 million, ended their free subscriptions (available through a breached service provider) and didnt convert to a paid subscription, despite intense marketing efforts from the credit bureaus.
Organizations whose data have been breached have a range of alternative services they can offer affected customers, including identity restitution, identity monitoring, automation of fraud alert requests and identity theft insurance, said Avivah Litan, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. The first three are generally more effective than credit report monitoring, especially since consumers can obtain free credit reports through a federal government service.