1 in 4 financial, personal information stolen in US

New York, November 1:

More than one in four Americans say their financial information or personal information has been stolen, sometimes by someone they knew, according to a survey released today.

The study done for Experian, the credit rating agency, found that about 19 per cent of consumers report that financial information, including a bank or credit card number, has been misused. About 14 per cent say they’ve had personal information such as a Social Security number or birth certificate taken. “Combined, 26 per cent of Americans report being the victim of one type of theft, while seven per cent report experiencing both,” the study stated.

The survey, conducted by The Gallup Organisation, also found that some consumers were more likely to be victimised than others. Among the prime targets were college graduates, those with annual household income of $75,000 or more, people residing in the West, and Americans between the age of 30 and 49.

The study also found that about one-fifth of those who suffered the theft of financial or personal data knew the person who stole their information.

Ty Taylor, an Experian executive, said, “securing personal and financial information should be part of a person’s lifestyle.”

Among the ways to do this are shredding sensitive information, never giving personal or financial data to an unknown source, and keeping track of the information on credit reports.