Identity Theft--Growing Awareness Slow to Change Consumer Habits

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People are diligent about some activities that protect their personal information both on and offline, but they also lack in several key areas, including not being fully aware of their credit report, according to a recent survey conducted by morefocus, an online research organization. The results of the survey showed some contradictory behavior regarding how people handle documents containing their personal information. Eighty-six percent of those polled say they destroy documents and receipts that have personal information on them - credit card numbers, account numbers, social security numbers, etc. - before throwing them away. Yet 38 percent put outgoing mail that contains that type of personal information in an unlocked mailbox for the postal carrier to pick up.

Being smart in your own actions is important but it may not prevent everything, and it's best to be aware of what your report is showing in case something crops up.

People are diligent about some activities that protect their personal information both on and offline, but they also lack in several key areas, including not being fully aware of their credit report, according to a recent survey conducted by morefocus, an online research organization.

The results of the survey showed some contradictory behavior regarding how people handle documents containing their personal information. Eighty-six percent of those polled say they destroy documents and receipts that have personal information on them - credit card numbers, account numbers, social security numbers, etc. - before throwing them away. Yet 38 percent put outgoing mail that contains that type of personal information in an unlocked mailbox for the postal carrier to pick up.

Additionally, almost 40 percent of those surveyed keep a vital piece of information - their social security card - in their wallet or purse.

"It's interesting to note that many people will take the time to destroy papers with personal info before they toss them in the trash, yet they'll turn around and leave similar papers out on their front porch for the mail carrier," said Dr. Regan Carey, morefocus Research Director. "People are missing the mark on some of the most basic steps in preventing a stolen identity."

The story is similar online. Eighty-two percent of those surveyed say their home computer has up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed, and 76 percent have a firewall program on their home computer to prevent unauthorized access. Yet 70 percent make the mistake of using the same password on several web sites.

Awareness of credit status is also an area where diligence is lacking. Thirty-three percent of people never check their credit report, and 13 percent only do so immediately before they apply for a loan or credit. Only 16 percent of those surveyed check their credit report more than once a year.

"The data suggests that people are not as aware as they probably should be of what their records with the major credit bureaus show," said Carey. "Being smart in your own actions is important but it may not prevent everything, and it's best to be aware of what your report is showing in case something crops up."

Further information and summary results of the survey are available on request from morefocus,

About morefocus group inc.
San Diego- and London-based morefocus group inc., builds and maintains high-traffic networks across multiple verticals. Independently, or together with its domain-owning clients, the Company owns or controls a leading independent healthcare and lifestyle network controlled by a suite of proprietary publishing, ad-serving, analytics and behavioral monitoring applications. The publications and software applications are applied to build engaged traffic, recruit, sample and manage registered consumers, and build marketing ROI for major healthcare and consumer marketing corporations.

Media Contact
Luke Pilon
morefocus group inc.
1-800-549-3904

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