80% of U.S. Consumers Concerned About Online Crime

November 23, 2015, Written By John H. Oldshue

Four out of every five consumers in the United States are worried they will be the victim of an online crime, according to a Symantec report released today.

The Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report found 62% of consumers believe it is likely their credit card information will be stolen online. This compares to just 38% that believe it is more likely for their credit cards to be stolen from their wallets.

47% of the respondents reported they had already been affected by cybercrime. Those who have been the victims of identity theft lost an average of 21 hours dealing with the aftermath and an average cost of $358. Across the 17 countries surveyed, this added up to about $150 billion.

There is not only a financial cost to cybercrime, though. In the United States:

  • Nearly 90% of respondents said they would feel devastated if their financial information was compromised.
  • 70% said they would rather cancel dinner plans with a good friend than have to cancel their debit or credit card due to cybercrime.
  • 63% said they would rather go on a bad date than have to deal with customer service after a security breach.

Despite this concern, consumers are overconfident about their online security behaviors. When asked to grade themselves, respondents gave themselves an “A,” but most are not passing a basic requirement of online security: having a strong password. In America:

  • Less than half of respondents use a password that is a combination of at least eight letters, numbers and symbols. Also, one in three do not have a password on their smartphone or desktop.
  • Even though two of three consumers think it is riskier to share a password with a friend than it is to loan them their car, they are sharing passwords with family and friends anyway. One in three share the password to their banking account. The most common passwords being shared are email (50%), TV/media (45%) and social media (40%).

Surprisingly, the report found Baby Boomers, generally considered less tech-savvy, have more secure online habits than Millennials. Millennials are much more likely to engage in risky online behavior, with 36% admitting to sharing passwords.

“Consumer confidence was rocked in 2014 by an unprecedented number of mega breaches that exposed the identities of millions of people who were simply making routine purchases from well-known retailers,” Fran Rosch, executive vice president, Norton by Symantec, said in a statement. “Our findings demonstrate the headlines rattled people’s trust in mobile and online activity, but the threat of cybercrime hasn’t led to widespread adoption of simple protection measures people should take to safeguard their devices and information online.”

The report was based on an online survey of 17,125 consumers, aged 18 and up, across 17 countries. The U.S. sample included 1,008 device users.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of November 23, 2015. For up-to-date
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