Gallup Poll

Poll Background

  • Gallup has been measuring Americans’ fear of being victims of crimes for decades. There are about 10 crimes that have been updated every year for the last 9 years.
  • Some of those 10 crimes are: being mugged, being a victim of a hate crime, being robbed, being assaulted by a co-worker, being a victim of terrorism, and being attacked while driving.
  • Identity theft was added to the poll just this year.

Poll Results:

  • Gallup has noticed that the percentage of Americans that worry about being the victim of crimes hasn’t changed much over the last decade.
  • In the past 47% of Americans has been the highest number that have ever worried about being a victim of a crime – having their car broken into. But when Identity theft was added to the poll a new record was made.
  • 66% of people worry about being a victim of identity theft and only 15% of people never worry about ID theft – the lowest % of all the crimes.

Interesting Stats:

  • While 66% of people worry about being a victim of ID theft, only 12% of households polled reported ID theft.
  • 75% of households polled with income >$75,000 worry the most about ID theft.
  • 54% of households polled with income <$30,000 worry the least about ID theft.
  • However, ID thieves do not discriminate between the rich and the poor. 12% of households in both high and low income brackets report ID theft.
  • on the other hand, only 46% of people worry about being robbed while 16% (the highest % of any crime reported in the poll) of households report being robbed.

But Why?

  • Why is it that the crime that is 3rd most reported crime in the poll is the one that most people worry about?
  • Not only do most people worry about it by it surpasses all of the other crimes by almost 20%!!
  • Here are a couple of theories: 1. There is money to be made in ID theft protection. 2. People think that most ID theft happens online and that is made easier with internet, wi-fi, social networks and smart phones. 3. Cleaning up after having your ID stolen is a long, expensive, painful process – according to Identity Theft Resource Center it takes 330 hours to repair ID theft damage. 4. People don’t know how to best protect themselves against the crime.

Bottom Line/Protection Tips

  • More than half of Americans worry about ID theft even though there are not very many victims
  • According to the poll more people are robbed more often than their ID is stolen, but people worry less.
  • So, perhaps people worry about being robbed less because they take preventative measures, locking their house, alarms, etc.
  • Take similar steps with your ID and you won’t have to worry so much! But first you should know that 90% of ID theft happens offline. Only 10% of ID theft happens on the internet!
  • This means that you need to be vigilant in protecting your identity!

“At a time of year when packages are sitting on doorsteps and a mere address label or transaction record are enough to enable idenitity theft, consumers need to increase thier vigilance and take action to protect themselves,” said John Herr, CEO, EZShield.

  1. Don’t carry your SSN with you ever!
  2. Don’t use your SSN or DOB as passwords when dealing with businesses or call centers
  3. Be smart and aware of what you are doing on the internet.
  4. Don’t share all of your personal info with everyone on social networks. Only people that you know and trust should have access to your full birth date and address.
  5. Use unique passwords online and change them regularly. Also, don’t have them written down where people can see them.
  6. Keep your wallet and purse close to you and secure when you are out and about, don’t leave them sitting in plain view in your car!
  7. If it is feasible, place a freeze on your credit report.
  8. Check your credit report annually. You get one free every year from:
  9. Shred statements with account numbers, like bank, credit cards, instead of just throwing them away.
  10. For more on what you can do check out the Protection section of this site.

Author: Richard Patterson

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