One Year After Equifax, ID Theft Matters More

ID Theft Awareness

On the first anniversary of the Equifax data breach, Americans may be taking identity theft more seriously. In a survey of roughly 1000 people commissioned by LendingTree.com, over 90% of respondents had reported taking some kind of action to protect themselves.

Highlights of the survey include 65% of the sample group reporting that they pay more attention to their online bank and credit card statements, with 51% checking their credit score, and 37% reviewing their credit report. Overall 81% said that they were taking identity theft either somewhat or much more seriously.

While the survey definitely shows progress, the results show there’s a long way to go before best practices for personal protection become commonplace. A minimal number of respondents reporting taking more proactive steps recommended by experts including subscribing to a credit monitoring service (11%), or freezing credit (8%). 25% reported having never changed their ATM personal identification number.

It remains to be seen if another Equifax-level breach would move the needle further, or if the survey results represent a plateau of compliance and consumer awareness after a year’s worth of news stories detailing the fallout. In either case, the experts’ advice remains the same, including checking credit scores and reports, practicing good data hygiene online, and freezing credit when possible.