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TMCNet:  New Study Indicates Consumers May Be Misinformed Regarding Identity Theft Risks

[December 08, 2009]

New Study Indicates Consumers May Be Misinformed Regarding Identity Theft Risks

Dec 09, 2009 (Close-Up Media via COMTEX) -- Consumers may have incorrect perceptions regarding identity theft while shopping for the holidays, according to a study commissioned by ProtectMyID.com, the multilayered identity theft detection, protection and fraud resolution product.


According to the survey, nearly 75 percent of all consumers feel that shopping online instead of at a retail location leaves them more vulnerable to identity theft. However, these sentiments are contrary to data showing that only one in 10 cases of identity theft occur as a result of online activity.2 The data also reveals that shoppers' fears regarding identity theft are heightened during the holiday season, as more than half of respondents felt that the time of year contributed to a greater all-around risk. This heightened fear combined with the busiest shopping period of the year underscores the need for education and awareness surrounding identity theft.

"No one wants to have to deal with the damages caused by identity theft, especially around the holidays," said Jennifer Leuer, general manager of ProtectMyID.com. "Fortunately, there are simple things people can do now to protect themselves while shopping, and there are products such as ProtectMyID.com that provide a layered defense against this crime." Even industry organizations, such as the Identity Theft Resource Center, are urging consumers to be cautious and alert this holiday season.

"As we have seen year after year, the holiday time frame always yields a higher rate of identity theft and related frauds," said Linda Foley, founder of the Identity Theft Resource Center. "At times like these, it is important to protect yourself from the many individuals looking to take advantage of vulnerable targets both out in public and online." To aid consumers in this regard, ProtectMyID.com and the Identity Theft Resource Center have compiled a list of top tips to help protect against identity theft this holiday season: - Beware of shoulder surfers. Protect credit cards, driver's licenses and checks from wandering eyes.

- Beware of skimmers. Skimming occurs when a clerk slides your credit card through a second machine to download its information onto a counterfeit card. Remember to keep your eyes on your cards at all times.

- Be aware of your surroundings. Pay extra attention in crowded malls, as pickpocketing numbers noticeably increase during the holidays.

- Minimize purse/wallet contents. Carry only the cards you know you will use.

- Secure your cards. Never leave your purse/backpack/bag unzipped, and keep a hand on it when in crowded stores.

- Use your online shopping smarts. Keep printouts of information detailing your Web purchases. Use a credit card instead of a debit card if possible, and make sure the company's Website is on a secure server.

- Visit trusted sites. Shopping at trusted Websites or those recommended via secure comparison shopping sites, such as PriceGrabber.com, can be a good way to reduce online shopping risks.

- Be careful with personal items when shopping. Don't leave your laptop; purse; or any item with credit cards, checks, driver's license or Social Security numbers visible in your car.

Several other interesting statistics from ProtectMyID.com's consumer survey include: - Seventy-six percent of the tech-savvy age 18 to 24 demographic expect to do their holiday shopping in-store.

- A noteworthy 74 percent of respondents age 55 to 64 feel that in-store shopping is safer than purchasing online.

- More than half of individuals age 18 to 24 and older than 65 claim to know someone who has been a victim of identity theft. Forty-four percent of overall respondents make the same assertion.

- Overall, nearly two in 10 people surveyed have personally been victims of identity theft.

ProtectMyID.com is a full-service provider of identity theft detection, protection and fraud resolution.

Experian is a global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients in more than 65 countries.

((Comments on this story may be sent to newsdesk@closeupmedia.com))

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