This article was originally published on HSB Whistlestop, Hartford Steam Boiler’s e-newsletter.
About one-third of U.S. consumers (34 percent) have been notified that their data has been breached and one in five have been the victim of identity theft, according to a cyber survey released by Hartford Steam Boiler (HSB).
It’s a growing problem
The nationwide poll, conducted for HSB by Zogby Analytics, reflects the growing risks for consumers as more of their personally identifying information is stored online. Almost half of those who had received a breach notification said they had been informed within the past 12 months.
Millions of identities stolen
“Data breaches continue to expose millions of Americans to identity theft and fraud,” said Timothy Zeilman, HSB vice president and counsel. “On the positive side, forty-eight states now require that affected individuals be notified and more consumers are taking advantage of credit monitoring and identity restoration services offered by businesses and insurers.”
Individuals take advantage of services
Almost two-thirds (62 percent) of individuals whose personal information had been breached were offered credit monitoring or identity restoration services and 41 percent took advantage of those benefits.
ID theft can result from a data breach
The HSB consumer survey also showed that 18 percent of total respondents had been the victim of identity theft and a third had become aware of situation within the previous 12 months.
It’s often a shock to the victims
Asked when they discovered their identity had been stolen, 38 percent said when they applied for credit, were notified of a fraudulent tax filing, or some other financial or legal transaction. Another 37 percent said they were notified of a data breach.
Many don’t know how it happened
Many of the victims (38 percent) didn’t know how their identity was stolen. Twenty-six percent said it was stolen online, and 23 percent said it was breached from a bank, retailer, or other institution.