Survey: A Quarter of Americans Cyber-Attacked
A new survey by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) says that 25 percent or one in four Americans experience some of sort of ID theft or data security breaches in the past year. Harris Poll actually conducted this survey.
AICPA did this survey over phone with about a thousand American individuals. A survey that was done a year ago found that 11 percent of Americans had the experience of having some piece of information stolen from their computer systems.
These security breaches do have an effect on people’s money and credit. They are determining how Americans purchase and shop online as well as in the real world.
Age will not keep a person from having their computer security breached. 34 percent of the people who answered this survey and were aged 55 to 64 had data breeches as well as 22 percent of millennials who answered this survey. Millennials are considered to be the ones who use digital communications the most.
People’s personal finances have been by these hacker attacks. 20 percent of Americans have had their identity stolen, according to this survey. These identity thefts ruin a person’s credit rating. When their credit ratings are ruined, they are usually prevented from getting a credit card, a loan, or a mortgage. They are also preventing from getting a rental apartment or a job. There are serious consequences when somebody robs a person’s identity and ruins his or her credit.
This survey does say that 51 percent of adults are quite concerned about how businesses are going to their data. According to the survey that was done a year ago, 39 percent of the people surveyed were worried about the data held by businesses. This may show that more people are using communications on the computer and are making online payments.
Ernie Almonte, a chair of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, believes that the increasing number of computer security breaches has made people cautious about what they online and offline. He goes on to say that these security breaches seriously disrupt people’s budgets and damage their credit scores. To him, the good news is that people are doing things to protects their data and minimize their susceptibility to these computer hacks.
Due to these cyber-breaches, this survey says that 82 percent of individuals are changing the way that they are making purchases. This is 13 percentage point increase from a year ago. 56 percent have switched to using their cash and checks for purchases and 42 percent have made a change in their presence online. They minimize their virtual presence by closing their social media account or reducing the amount of website that they visit.
There are also ways that people can protect their personal information.
Ways to Protect From Cyber-Attacks
One way that a person can protect their data is by reaching out to the bank and the credit card companies that they are part of. They should ask them how they are protecting their data. These protections could be fraud alerts and purchase limits. Most companies openly state their features and he or she will have to find out what features they want.
Another way that should protect a person from breaches is that when he or she should shop online, they should not use public wireless connections. It is not a good idea to use a connection that is not secure such as in coffee shops and internet cafe. These unsecured connections may make it easier for a hacker to access the data that you are transmitting on an unguarded line.
A person should make sure that their credit cards are secure. He or she should a make list of all their credit cards and record all the information about their cards. They will need this information if their credit card information is stolen.
A person should be careful about what email links that they should click on. These links could be to trustworthy retailers, but they could also be linked to website that a hacker uses to collect information about people.
If the person knows that they have been cyber-attacked, he or she should contact each credit bureau as soon as possible to put a fraud alert on his or her credit report.
With these tips, Americans should feel safer about using the Internet for shopping and other activities.
About the Author:
Hi, I’m a CPA based in Alabama.
I love to write about Tax and Accounting concepts. I’m an entrepreneur basically, and admire individuals who would like to establish enterprises and help in the economy. I hope you appreciated my column. Please feel free to give me comments.
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