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With data breaches becoming part our day to day lives, 48 percent of Americans believe that they may fall prey to hackers, according to the new study by American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), with half believing that identity theft will cost them where it counts next year – in their wallet.
That's not all; 8 out of 10 people wonder if businesses can keep their data safe from cyber thieves, especially in the wake of recent credit card data breaches. Yet with all of that worry, many are not watching their own backs when it comes to protecting their financial information. While 61 percent of people have checked out their credit report, 35 percent have not. That's troubling, especially since 66 percent of those that did look found mistakes.
Income was found to be a factor in whether or not people checked their credit report, with individuals making $35k (or under) less likely to check their credit report when compared to people making $100K or more (44 percent vs. 30 percent).
“Protecting your information is an ongoing process that requires you to be vigilant, identify where you can improve and take action to firm up your safeguards,” said Gregory Anton, chair of the AICPA's National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.
“This means regularly monitoring your credit card and bank statement and periodically checking your credit report for anything that looks out of the ordinary,” he added.
Consumers making changes to increase security
While 81 percent of people were at the very least somewhat unsure that businesses can keep their data safe, 40 percent reported being either very or extremely worried that business can get the job done when it comes to cybersecurity.
With that information in hand, it is not surprising that four out of five Americans reported changing their behavior to keep their credit card or debit card from being caught up in a cyber breach.
What kind of changes are they making? For 56 percent it means keeping an eye on their credit card and debit card statements, so they can catch any instances of fraud right away. On the other hand, 43 percent have started paying some bills and purchases with cash and checks rather than credit cards and debit cards.
For some, where they shop has changed. Some 40 percent of respondents are opting to shop with mom and pop stores or local shops rather than going to big retailers. Reducing their social media footprint was in the cards for 26 percent of people who decided to shut down their social media platforms.
Upping their credit monitoring or fraud detection service was in the cards for 26 percent, while 11 percent have changed their shopping patterns when it comes to the brick and mortar retailers they frequent, and others are shopping online more (11 percent).
The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) study was conducted via telephone in the United States by the Harris Poll. They spoke with 1,006 adults, and the study was carried out between October 12 and October 15, 2017.