Friday, August 08, 2014

New Illinois survey shows consumers feeling the pain of identity theft as data breach incidents have increased in frequency

New Illinois survey shows consumers feeling the pain of identity theft as data breach incidents have increased in frequency

Fifty percent of Illinoisans have been a victim or know someone who has, according to a survey by Experian’s ProtectMyID®

 A new online survey conducted for Experian’s ProtectMyID® reveals that while many Illinoisans know some of the dos and don’ts of how to protect themselves against identity theft, they are still victims at a high rate. The survey shows that 50 percent of residents overall and 54 percent in Chicago either have been a victim of identity theft or know someone who has been affected by the crime. This could be attributed to the propensity of data breaches that have occurred across the country and the 16 breaches reported in Illinois so far this year.1

Although some residents are vigilant in taking key steps for protection, such as avoiding sharing their Social Security number unless required (78 percent) or keeping antivirus and antimalware programs up to date on their computers (71 percent), there is room for more proactive measures. Only 40 percent of people check their credit reports regularly for signs of possible identity theft, and a quarter of people add strangers to their social networks.

The statewide study surveyed 1,051 consumers about their knowledge and behaviors related to identity theft. Other behaviors that put residents at risk include not protecting mobile devices with passwords (60 percent) and still receiving paper statements (38 percent).

Though residents are taking a few proactive measures to prevent identity theft, there are always more precautions they can take especially in light of the increase in company data breaches occurring,” said Becky Frost, senior manager of consumer education for Experian’s ProtectMyID. “You never know when a breach may happen, so it is recommended to change passwords on an ongoing basis, check your credit report frequently and limit personal information you provide to the organizations you access.”

Additional survey findings
Some Illinoisans have a solid level of awareness and security habits, but education is still needed to help residents avoid identity theft.

Individuals can be more security focused
  • Fifty-four percent of those surveyed do not keep track of what statements they expect every month in order to notice if any are missing
  • Fifty-one percent do not shred cancelled checks
  • More than 40 percent do not use different passwords for each of their online accounts

There is a lack of awareness about medical identity theft
  • Sixty-six percent of those surveyed have not heard of medical identity theft
  • For those familiar with medical identity theft, 9 percent were either victims of the crime or knew a family member who was
  • Almost 35 percent of those familiar with medical identity theft were not aware that it can affect one’s credit score

Top tips to safeguard your identity
  • Change passwords on a regular basis
  • Avoid sharing personally identifying information, such as your birthday, on social networks
  • Shred financial documents before disposing of them
  • Review credit reports regularly, and watch for signs of fraud
  • If you receive a data breach notification letter from a business, follow the instructions and enroll in its offer of free protection products
  • Have a partner in the fight against identity theft; consider enrolling in identity protection monitoring, and take action if you receive alerts that your identity could be compromised

About the survey
The online survey was conducted by Qualtrics on behalf of Experian from June 10 through 12, 2014, among 1,051 adults ages 18 and older residing in Illinois. This online survey is not based on a probability sample; therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact

About Experian’s ProtectMyID
ProtectMyID is a leading, full-service provider of identity theft detection, protection and resolution. ProtectMyID offers identity theft protection supported by experienced identity theft resolution professionals who deliver personal attention that customers can rely on.® is a Website owned by® Inc., an Experian company. For more information about how ProtectMyID helps consumers protect themselves against identity theft, please visit
About Experian
Experian® is a leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2014, was US$4.8 billion. Experian employs approximately 16,000 people in 39 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

For more information, visit

12014 Data Breach Stats, Identity Theft Resource Center

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