A new report finds that major data breaches have left a vast majority of consumers worried about the online crimes that lead to identity theft and account takeovers.

The F-Secure reportIs ID theft the cyber crime we fear most? A look at consumer views on identity theft and cyber crime, includes findings from a consumer survey of nine countries, such as:

  • Nearly nine in ten consumers are at least somewhat worried about their bank accounts being hacked to steal money (89 percent), online shopping fraud (87 percent), and someone committing a crime with their identity (87 percent)
  • Internet users in Brazil are by far the most likely to report they have been personally affected by cyber crime (76 percent) followed by the US (62 percent) and Sweden (52 percent), while just about one-third of Germans (34 percent) had dealt with cyber crime in their family
  • Women report more worries about identity theft and cyber crime, while men report they have experienced these scourges more

"Consumers may feel like there is a data breach every day because statistically, there is. Between January of 2005 and October of 2019, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse recorded 9,705 data breaches, an average of 1.8 a day," says F-Secure. 

“What do criminals do when they get our data?” asks F-Secure Global Partner Product Advocate Fennel Aurora. “As much as they can. This includes accessing our critical accounts to taking over our identities. Or—if the crooks think you’re worth it—they’ll use the data for a targeted attack.”

The Consumer Sentinel Network database run by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission took in 444,602 reports of identity theft in 2018, including more than 167,000 reports from “people who said their information was misused on an existing account or to open a new credit card account,” says F-Secure. 

“Every data breach is a reminder that protecting private data requires more than securing our devices,” says Olli Bliss, F-Secure’s Consumer Security Business Development Manager. “Consumers sense the risks but can feel powerless about their ability to keep track of all the potential risks that come from having multiple accounts with banks, credit cards, online services, social media platforms, webmail providers, and more.”