Identity theft affects millions of American each year. In the past two years, one in four Georgians (26%) has been the victim of identity theft or fraud, according to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey. Credit card accounts, social security numbers, and e-commerce accounts are top targets for identity thieves. In 2017, $16.8 billion was stolen from a record 16.7 million U.S. consumers (Javelin Strategy & Research, 2018 Identity Fraud Study).
AAA Consumer Pulse™ 2018 Identity Theft Study
Identity fraud is taking its toll on consumer trust. AAA found the majority of Georgians are concerned (88%) about becoming the victim of identity theft. These concerns have led to low levels of trust in the institutions we provide with our personal information to keep personal/account information secure.
Institutions with “Low” Level of Consumer Trust
- Gas Stations – 44%
- Online Retailers – 27%
Institutions with “High” Level of Consumer Trust
- Banks/Credit Card Companies – 45%
- ATMs – 28%
Credit Card Technology
The majority (70%) of Georgians said they only have EVM (chip-based) credit cards, yet half of the consumers (51%) reported shopping at a store in the past 3 months that did not have an activated or working chip card reader. Credit cards with EVM technology are incredibly complex to reproduce, which makes them more secure than the magnetic stripe.
Consumers Fighting Back
Additional findings from the report showed that Georgians are taking steps to prevent identity theft:
- Monitor bank accounts/credit card transactions (68%)
- Receive email alerts on suspicious transactions (59%)
- Check credit score (48%)
“Identity thefts are on the rise and fraudsters methods to gain access to your personal information is becoming more sophisticated, “said Garrett Townsend, Georgia Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “It is vital for consumers to take steps now to keep their financial and personal information secure. One way to prevent identity theft is to sign up for a credit monitoring service. AAA members can sign up for ProtectMyID free of charge.”
As of September 21st, consumers now have additional protections against identity theft thanks to a new federal law that allows access to free credit freezes and one-year fraud alerts, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). A credit freeze, or a security freeze, makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts by restricting access to a consumer’s credit file. For more information on credit freezes from the FTC, click here.
AAA Tips To Prevent Identity Theft
- Sign up for a credit monitoring service. AAA members receive essential ProtectMyID coverage free of charge. Included in this member benefit are daily credit monitoring, email alerts, fraud resolution support, identity theft insurance, and lost wallet assistance. Go to AAA.com/IdentityTheft for more information.
- Review your credit card statement, bank account, and credit report regularly. Be on the lookout for any unauthorized transactions and report them immediately to the affected account.
- Do not respond to unsolicited requests for personal information. Identity thieves utilize “cold calling” or “phishing” schemes to solicit personal information including your name, birthdate, social security number and bank account number over the phone, by mail, or online.
- Securely store your bank, credit and medical card information. Select PIN numbers that are easy for you to remember and don’t let anyone else see the number when you are entering it. Do not carry any record of your PIN number in your wallet. Shred credit card statements, receipts, or any medical records containing sensitive information before disposing of them. Also, ensure your credit cards and debit has been updated to include EMV or “chip” technology.
About the AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey
The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among residents living in Georgia from February 7, 2018 – February 19, 2018. A total of 400 residents completed the survey. Results have a maximum margin of error of ± 4.9 percentage points. Responses are weighted by gender and age to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Georgia. Click here to read the complete survey.
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.6 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 59 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. Visit AAA on the Internet at AAA.com.