Data breaches are threatening the security of more U.S. consumers, according to a survey released by The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB), part of Munich Re, with more than a third reporting that their personal information was exposed.
The poll conducted for HSB by Zogby Analytics showed 39 percent of consumers had learned their personal data was compromised at some point and 51 percent of them were notified in the previous 12 months. Both findings were up five percent.
Once aware of the data breach, 46 percent of the affected individuals took advantage of free credit monitoring services, a five percent increase over a similar HSB survey two years earlier.
“Consumers are demanding, and getting, personal services when their data is compromised,” said Timothy Zeilman, vice president for HSB, a leading provider of cyber insurance for consumers and businesses. “Access to credit and fraud monitoring, identity theft case management, legal help and other professional services is increasingly important.”
The HSB survey found that 21 percent of consumers said they had been the victim of identity theft, compared with 18 percent two years before.
Most of them (38 percent) became aware of the identity theft through a data breach notification and 28 percent by checking a credit report, an eight percent rise.
Although 61 percent of consumers say they regularly review their credit reports, only 11 percent were willing to pay for the information.
The number of people experiencing a computer virus, hacking, or other cyber- attack continued to decline, to 26 percent from 32 percent, as security practices get better.
Smartphone ownership jumped eight percent over two years to 85 percent and consumers are more likely to protect them with passwords, access codes, passphrases and biometric methods.
Americans over age 50 are significantly less apt to own a smartphone than younger people: 92 percent of consumers age 30-49 owned smartphones and 83 percent age 50-64.