How to Prevent Data Theft: Nearly Half of Adult Americans have Already been Hacked this Year

Nearly half of all adult Americans have already been hacked this year. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center and a review of corporate disclosures by CNN Money, 47 percent of adult Americans have already had their personal information exposed by hackers in 2014, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down.

Over the weekend, AT&T confirmed that personal information, including Social Security numbers and call records, of an unknown number of users was improperly accessed between April 9 and April 20 as part of a recent security breach.

This is only the most recent in the growing epidemic of data-theft. Last December, Target captured headlines around the world when customer debit and credit card information was stolen on a massive scale. It wasn’t the information of a few thousand customers that was compromised, nor was it a few hundred thousand. It was 40 million.

Target isn’t the only company in hot water after being successfully hacked. Earlier this month P.F. Chang’s leaked debit and credit card data from its customers, and although thousands of cards appeared on blackmarket data-selling websites, the scale of the breach is still unknown. Payment services for Michaels, Sally Beauty, and Neiman Marcus were also successfully infiltrated by hackers and infected with malware. In addition, computers at AOL, Adobe, and Snapchat have been breached. Even eBay, the king of online auction sites, was forced to ask 145 million users to change their passwords after a data breach last month. Clearly hackers are willing to go after any company, big or small.

With the rise of cybercrime, and the sophistication of data collection techniques, many Americans have become seriously concerned about the amount of their personal information that is available online. In fact, 50 percent reported this concern, a figure which has risen significantly in the past few years. In a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, it was found that 15 percent of young adults, ages 18-29, were aware that important personal information was stolen from them such as credit card details, social security numbers, and bank account information.

Baby Boomers were also targeted, as 20 percent of those ages 50-64 indicated that personal information had been taken. These are significant consumer segments. According to a study conducted by qSample, Baby Boomers represent 40 percent of consumer demand, and 47 percent of all income in the U.S.

If consumers were unwilling to shop online, the consequences could be disastrous for businesses across the country. qSample has compiled a list of five precautions that consumers can take to reduce the risk of data-theft.

Data Theft

Data-theft is an epidemic that doesn’t only affect consumers. It also plagues businesses. Next week, qSample will release an article on how companies can regain consumer trust after a cyber-attack.

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qSample offers many great panels for data collection and analysis. In addition to large segments of general consumers, qSample cultivates high-quality specialty panels. Those panels include:

Mobile Users, Gamers, Voters, Contractors, Home Owners, Students, Baby Boomers, Veterinarians, and Pet Owners.

You can find more information by clicking on the “Panels” tab above, or contact qSample here

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