CHARLOTTE, N.C., Aug. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- One year ago, Equifax announced its massive data breach, which exposed the personal information of some 148 million Americans and brought financial information security into question. According to the latest survey from CompareCards by LendingTree, 91 percent of consumers said they took some sort of action to protect themselves from identity theft.
Equifax publicly announced the data breach on September 7, 2017. As the one-year anniversary of that announcement neared, CompareCards.com commissioned Qualtrics to ask 1,037 Americans with a credit card or debit card if they had taken any of 10 actions aimed at detecting, preventing or protecting themselves from identity theft. More than 9 out of 10 respondents said they had done at least one, and the average respondent had done three.
The most common actions taken were:
- 65 percent started looking at online bank and credit card statements more often in the past year
- 51 percent looked at their credit score
- 50 percent set up alerts to be notified when charges appear on their credit card
- 37 percent reviewed their credit report
"People have clearly been spurred to action, and that's great news," said Matt Schulz, chief industry analysts for CompareCards. "Whether they're reacting to the Equifax breach or any of the other myriad data breaches we've seen recently, Americans are taking concrete steps to protect themselves and their money."
More than 8 in 10 Americans (81 percent) said they are being more diligent about looking for signs of identity theft than they were a year ago. Two-thirds of respondents (67 percent) said they always check their credit card and bank statements every month to make sure that the charges are accurate. Older and more educated Americans are generally more likely to say they do so.
Despite all the actions being taken against fraud, it's also clear that the next big breach might not be as impactful. More than half of Americans (52 percent) say they're less bothered by data breaches now because they assume their information is already out there.
Other key findings include:
- 40 percent of Americans said they had fraudulent charges on an account in the past year. The wealthier and more educated you are, the more likely you are to have said you were a victim. (The same percentage said they were notified their information had been exposed in a breach.)
- 30 percent have ever frozen or locked their credit, and half of these respondents said those freezes or locks are still active today. The most common reasons for not locking or freezing credit:
- They didn't know they could (29 percent)
- They aren't that concerned with fraud (28 percent)
- They didn't know how to do it (22 percent)
- Nearly 1 in 4 (23 percent) said they were notified that their personal information had been exposed on the "dark web." Republicans, men and the wealthy are the most likely to have said this happened to them.
- Fifty percent of Americans changed their PIN on their ATM card in the past year, but 1 in 4 Americans say they've never done it. Meanwhile 30 percent of Americans said they have changed their passwords on their bank or credit card issuer's website in the past year.
"To deal with identity theft and data breaches, build identity theft detection into your regular financial routine, including checking online bank and credit card statements once a week, checking your credit score once a month and reviewing your credit report from all three credit bureaus at least once a year," said Schulz. "Also consider a credit freeze, which restricts access to your credit report to prevent the opening of new accounts in your name."
To view the full report, visit https://www.comparecards.com/blog/equifax-data-breach-a-year-later/.
CompareCards by LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,037 Americans with at least one credit card, with the sample base proportioned to represent the general population. The survey was fielded August 23-28, 2018 and the margin for error for all respondents is +/- 3%.
LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE ) is the nation's leading online marketplace that connects consumers with the choices they need to be confident in their financial decisions. LendingTree empowers consumers to shop for financial services the same way they would shop for airline tickets or hotel stays, comparing multiple offers from a nationwide network of over 500 partners in one simple search, and can choose the option that best fits their financial needs. Services include mortgage loans, mortgage refinances, auto loans, personal loans, business loans, student refinances, credit cards and more. Through the My LendingTree platform, consumers receive free credit scores, credit monitoring and recommendations to improve credit health. My LendingTree proactively compares consumers' credit accounts against offers on our network, and notifies consumers when there is an opportunity to save money. In short, LendingTree's purpose is to help simplify financial decisions for life's meaningful moments through choice, education and support. LendingTree, LLC is a subsidiary of LendingTree, Inc. For more information, go to www.lendingtree.com, dial 800-555-TREE, like our Facebook page and/or follow us on Twitter @LendingTree.
CompareCards' mission is to help people make smarter, more informed, healthier financial decisions based on deeper knowledge of financial offers. Each month, over 2.9 million visitors come to CompareCards' website to independently compare credit cards side-by-side and choose a credit card based on interest rate, reward benefit, cost savings, and other factors that are important to each person. CompareCards provides easy-to-use, objective tools and educational resources that help people do everything from making credit card comparisons to managing their credit health. For more information, please visit www.comparecards.com.
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