Americans Unaware and Unprepared for Data Breaches According to Survey

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A survey from shows that Americans underestimate their risk of having their data breached, and aren’t taking the right actions if it is.

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Given how widespread data breaches have become, every consumer in America is likely to be affected at some point. We simply can't afford to continue to stick our necks in the sand and hope the problem will go away.

Only one-in-four Americans believes they have been the victim of a data breach, according to the latest survey commissioned by, and of those that know it has happened, many aren’t taking the right steps to recover.

Almost half of the 2,000 survey respondents said that they did not check their credit card statement or bank account information following a known breach, while over half didn’t look at their credit report.

Of the 25.5 percent of respondents that said they had been a victim of a data breach, here are the percentages that did the following:

  •     Check credit card statement – 51.18 percent
  •     Check credit report – 45.29 percent
  •     Check bank account – 54.31 percent
  •     Stopped using credit card – 37.84 percent
  •     Stopped using debit card – 32.75 percent
  •     Signed up for credit monitoring – 24.31 percent
  •     Put a credit freeze in place – 24.12 percent

“The results of this survey are disturbing and should be a wake-up call for consumers, consumer protection groups and the banking community as well,” said Editor-in-Chief Curtis Arnold. “It seems pretty obvious that most consumers are blasé about data breaches and don't realize to what degree a data breach can negatively impact their finances. Furthermore, most of those that do have little clue on what specific steps to take to protect themselves.”

While the disparities between men and women were relatively small, the oldest and youngest survey respondents were most likely to overlook a key security measure. Just one-third of those age 25-34 that were victims of a breach checked their credit report, while only 40 percent of those 65 and older checked their credit card statement.

After a data breach, respondents said these were the most likely consequences:

1.    Got a new card and number from issuer – 86.27 percent
2.    Made a mess of automatic payments – 60.59 percent
3.    Got two or more new cards/accounts – 46.08 percent
4.    Used credit card less – 38.15 percent

When asked whether a credit card or a debit card was safer to use, just 54.35 percent correctly chose a credit card. EMV chips – the new layer of security being added to credit cards in light of recent major data breaches – is one way to fortify card security, a feature only 19.65 percent of respondents knew for certain they had on their credit cards.

““Given how widespread data breaches have become, every consumer in America is likely to be affected at some point. We simply can't afford to continue to stick our necks in the sand and hope the problem will go away. The bottom line is that we all need to get more involved and educated,” added Arnold.

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Methodology surveyed 2,000 adults age 25 and older.

About CardRatings is the leading comprehensive free source for comparing credit card offers. The site has been educating consumers, publishing news and providing expert advice on credit cards and debt since 1998. offers consumer reviews of credit cards and issues an annual ranking of top-rated cards in a variety of categories to help consumers find the credit cards best suited to their needs, get the best credit card rates available and effectively lower their debt., of Little Rock, Ark., is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to research, find and select the products, services and brands that best meet their needs. The company is a leader in ethical marketing practices. For more information, please visit


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