Survey Shows Consumers Still Openly Risking ID Theft

A new survey conducted by a credit card comparison Web site indicates consumers continue to be lax when it comes to guarding against identity theft.

A new survey conducted by a credit card comparison Web site indicates consumers continue to be lax when it comes to guarding against identity theft.

Users may not be able to prevent leaks such as today’s disclosure of 6.5 million stolen LinkedIn passwords, but they are still engaging in their own risky behavior online, according to results from 510 consumers who responded to a 13-question CreditDonkey.com online survey conducted May 21 through 24.

A third admitted to sharing their password with a friend and to using the same password for multiple sites. Nearly 25 percent also said they add Facebook “friends” they don’t know.

Thirteen percent said they’ve been the victim of ID theft.

“Given how promiscuous people are about their passwords online, I’m surprised the number of victims isn’t higher,” Charles Tran, founder of CreditDonkey.com, said in an e-mail. “Of course, with all the Web sites that now ask for user registration, it’s hard to blame somebody for wanting to use the same password for multiple Web sites.”

Because the Pasadena-based site helps people manage credit, many of the survey questions focused on how well consumers understood the impact identity theft can have on future borrowing capabilities.

Among the encouraging results:

  • 71.8 percent knew that losing a Social Security card was potentially far more harmful than losing a credit card or driver’s license
  • 65.5 percent understood that a credit freeze prevents new accounts from being opened in their name
  • 76.3 percent knew to check their credit report to find out if someone has opened a new line of credit in their name
  • Only 18 percent thought a credit freeze or fraud alert prevented them from accessing their own credit reports  

“In reality, identity theft can strike any of us, and just like you shouldn’t leave your front door unlocked, you should take basic precautions to protect yourself,” Tran said.

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Discussion

  • Anonymous on

    "Of course, with all the Web sites that now ask for user registration, it's hard to blame somebody for wanting to use the same password for multiple Web sites." Really? With the free availability of cross-platform encrypted password management databases, it's hard not to blame someone for not using unique randomly generated passwords. I've got accounts on literally hundreds of sites, all with totally unique passwords, most of which I couldn't even type reliably if my life depended on it, many of which have completely randomly generated usernames as well. It's a simple as copy and paste people; faster and easier than thinking up a password that you think is good but a computer can crack in an instant. Check out KeePassX, PasswordSafe, Password Gorilla or just google "encrypted password database". Honestly, saying you can't blame people for not practicing basic internet hygiene is like saying you can't really blame them for not using a condom when engaging with multiple unknown random partners because they're just too darn attractive. What year is this?

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