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The Resource Center Online Security Issues & Protection The Resource Center | article

Americans Are Largely Unprepared For Online Crime

The vast majority of Americans are concerned about the possibility of online crime, but most are not prepared for it.Surveys show that the vast majority of Americans are concerned about the possibility of online crime. According to one study, conducted by Symantec, four in five Americans say that they are worried about becoming victims of a crime while surfing the Internet.

Unfortunately, most of these people appear to be significantly overestimating their ability to protect themselves from these types of crimes.

“When asked to grade their security practices, they consistently award themselves a solid ‘A,'” the report read. Of course, as an article on SC Magazine is quick to point out, the growing number of identity theft incidents suggest that most people are not deserving of this grade. In 2014, it is estimated that 594 million consumers were affected by online crime in some form. This includes the exposure of more than 348 million identities. At particular risk are young people. In the U.S., 44 percent of Millennials say they have been victims of online crime, compared to only 16 percent of Baby Boomers.

There are a number of reasons why online security breaches happen, but all too often it comes down to user neglect.

Failure to use secure passwords

One of the more alarming findings to come out of the Symantic report was that fewer than half of the respondents used a secure, alphanumeric password of at least eight characters. Even worse, many people reported that they regularly shared passwords with friends and family — despite understanding that this may not be wise.

“Ironically, two in three believe it is riskier to share their email password with a friend than lend them their car, yet half of those sharing passwords do just that,” the Symantic report read.

People of all ages make this mistake. Thirty-one percent of Millennials reported sharing their password in the past year, as did 15 percent of Baby Boomers. While it may seem harmless to share a password associated with an entertainment streaming service or social media account, this can very quickly escalate into full-blown identity theft. With so many people using weak passwords — not to mention repeating these passwords across multiple accounts — any amount of sharing could result in a security breach.

Too much trust placed in public computing

Free Wi-Fi access points at your favorite local establishments are convenient if you want to do a little web surfing or send emails while on the go. But many people make the mistake of completely trusting the security of these access points. They might use them to connect to a bank account or share personal information like a Social Security Number. Unfortunately, the open nature of public access points means that anyone who tries to break into them for nefarious purposes have access to that information.

The growth of the Internet — especially mobile Internet — has allowed people to do more with their handheld devices than ever. Smart online practices are a great way to deter thieves.

If you have concerns about identity theft, be sure to invest in a credit monitoring service, which can notify you of certain activities that may indicate fraud.

We know that it seems impossible to heed every piece of advice out there for keeping your identity and personal information safe as well as guarding your privacy—so let Identity Guard help you. With a plan like Total Protection behind you, you can relax in the knowledge that you’re taking important steps in protecting yourself.

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