Identity Theft Haunted House

F5 Miniature
Published October 20, 2015

With Halloween just around the corner and the holiday shopping season arriving soon thereafter, a couple surveys are out examining our fears and in particular our concerns about identity theft. Apparently, ID theft is not so scary anymore--like walking through an 'ID theft haunted house' mostly filled with nervous giggles and gotchas, as opposed to hair-raising screams.

Over at, only 54% of those surveyed say they are somewhat or very frightened of ID theft. That compares to 80% who expressed the same level of concern back in 2008. Almost half, 43%, claim they have little or no fear, trouncing the 19% who were feeling brave in 2008. This is all while the overall victim count remains at similar levels--12.5 million in 2008 verses 12.7 million in 2014, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. As far as knowing someone who has been hit, 46% say they or a friend has been a victim compared to 34% in 2008.

They chalk it up to people being desensitized to breaches due to the almost weekly confessions of data intrusions. The general feeling that if large retailers, health care providers and credit agencies can't keep my data safe, how can I? More of those same folks, however, are also following some good advice of shredding sensitive documents (72%), checking their credit report regularly (56%), avoiding insecure WiFi (54%) and almost 20% have frozen their credit files. These are all good ways to help you worry less.

And Chapman University published their Survey of American Fears, Wave 2 (2015) examining the fears of average Americans. The domains of fear include areas like crime, natural and man made disasters, personal anxieties, environment, technology and others. Along with the corruption, terrorism and warfare, identity theft comes in at 39.6% and credit card fraud sits at 36.9% (both in the top 10).

So, while ID theft is still one of our top fears, by the time you get to Nightmare on Identity Street 4, the metaphorical 'Freddies' out there might not be so frightening, and at least you'll have some tools to deal with them.

And besides, you've got plenty of other things to think about, like how your insecure connected kettles could be exposing your WiFi passwords without your knowledge. Now that's scary!



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