Many Americans Still Make Crucial Security Mistakes With Their Finances

Many Americans Still Make Crucial Security Mistakes With their Finances Title Image

Now more than ever, it’s easier for hackers to get a hold of private information. Card skimmers and formjacking are just a few new ways hackers have begun targeting financial information in the last decade. Thanks to these new methods, 157,688 credit card fraud reports were filed in 2018.

In a 2018 survey, we found that theft and fraud were Americans’ biggest fears about owning a credit card compared to things like debt and overspending.

For this survey, we wanted to uncover how careful Americans are with their finances given the high prevalence of fraud and their levels of fear. We asked a total of 4,000 Americans a series of questions about their safety habits with their financial information and found that many Americans engage in risky behavior.

Key Findings

Shopping on Public Wifi Exposes Nearly 20 Percent to Fraud

Doing last minute gift or grocery shopping at your local coffee shop sounds convenient, but can put you at great risk if you’re not careful about what you click and how you connect to the internet. Our survey found that one in five Americans have taken this risk.

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Men are More Casual About Texting Account Numbers

In our study, we found that more men than women have texted or emailed their credit card number. These results are interesting considering women report identity theft more often than men. According to a 2019 report published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more women experienced identity theft than men.

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Many Americans Don’t Shred Sensitive Information

Now that we dove into American habits with digital files and information, we’ll now take a look at how they treat old-fashioned paper files.

Unfortunately, we found that more than one in three Americans still toss out financial paperwork without putting it through the shredder. Anyone who throws away sensitive files as-is puts themselves at risk for credit card fraud and identity theft from both burglars and dumpster divers.

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Constant Credit Card Carrying is Common

Carrying multiple credit cards naturally increases the chances of theft and misplacement. However, we found that almost one-fourth of Americans carry all of their credit cards with them.

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Keeping Your Financial Information Safe

The potential of identity theft requires us all to stay vigilant of both our online and offline activities. Unfortunately, there is no real way to completely prevent identity theft. This is why it’s just as important to understand how to spot signs of fraud in addition to knowing how to prevent it.

One way to spot if you’re a victim of identity theft is by scanning your credit report for any items that look suspicious or otherwise incorrect. Any fraudulent or inaccurate information that remains on your report can unfairly drop your credit score and should be removed as soon as possible.

If you think you’re a victim of fraud, contact the team at Lexington Law Firm for a free credit report consultation to see how we can help you identify and remove inaccurate information.

Methodology

This study was conducted for Lexington Law using Google Consumer Surveys. The sample consisted of no less than 1,000 completed responses per question. Post-stratification weighting has been applied to ensure an accurate and reliable representation of the total population. This survey was conducted in December 2019.