In the “it comes as no surprise” department: a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center finds that a majority of Americans have personally experienced some type of hacking of their personal data, many feel that they have less and less control over their personal information online, and there is a continued erosion of confidence in the ability of large institutions to protect consumers’ privacy.
In the “that doesn’t make sense” department: despite these beliefs, a large number of Americans fail to follow digital security best practices that would make their personal information more secure online.
Approximately half of those surveyed—49%--said they would not trust the federal government to protect their data, only slightly fewer than those who do not trust social media sites (51%.) Twenty-six percent do not trust cellphone manufacturers, 30% their credit card companies, 30% their cellphone service providers, 30% their email providers, and 36% companies/retailers they do business with.
This is not surprising, given that 64% of respondents have been personally impacted by a major data breach. Forty-one percent have encountered fraudulent charges on their credit cards, 35% percent have received notices that some type of sensitive information has been compromised, 16% have had and email account hijacked, 15% have received notice their Social Security number has been compromised, 14% say someone has tried to take out lines of credit in their name, 13% has had a social media account hijacked, and 6% have had someone impersonate them in order to file fraudulent tax returns.