40% of consumers hold online service providers responsible for protecting their online identity
London, UK, 25 April 2013 – Research findings published today by Experian Consumer Services reveals that 36% of Britons today believe that online identity fraud or information theft is unavoidable in the future. The study also reveals the opportunity for online service providers to take more accountability in this area with 40% of survey respondents believing that responsibility should lie with their service provider.
Conducted amongst 2,249 adults across the UK, the results highlight consumer attitudes towards online identity fraud and the role online service providers play (in the following sectors: Mobile, Banking, Insurance, Gaming, Internet Service providers).
Despite over a third of consumers expressing significant concerns about the risk of identity theft, the results suggest that many still do not implement well established best practice online security measures, such as using different passwords for online accounts. Two-fifths of respondents (40%) believe that online service providers should be responsible for protecting consumers’ online identity with just under a half (47%) believing it is their personal responsibility. The research also showed that victims of Internet crime are slightly more likely to allocate accountability to service providers than non-victims (43% compared to 39%).
In the case of protecting and recovering data following the loss of a mobile device specifically, opinions about who should protect and recover their information are more fragmented. Just under a fifth (19%) of respondents currently believe accountability should lie with the mobile network provider, followed by their ISP (17%), companies holding their personal data (14%) and insurance companies (13%). 30% of consumers believe that none of the service providers would fulfil this role.
Consumers also associate varying levels of perceived harm from identity theft depending on the different online platforms they are using. For example, information misuse following online banking is perceived to have the greatest personal impact at 87%, followed by the risk of an e-mail account being hacked and messages sent out to their network (80%). General Internet use has a perceived risk of 76%.
Gamers believe they face the lowest perceived risks (54%) should a personal avatar or online identity be taken over by fraudsters, in-spite of the significant amount of personal information shared in creating such characters and online profiles.
During qualitative anonymous interviews, when online service providers were asked what was being done to minimise risks surrounding identity theft for their customers, most discussed authentication, encryption, storage and some proactive technologies, with an emphasis on transaction security and log-in protections. Very few highlighted processes or technologies to assist customers that are victims of identity fraud or information misuse
Peter Turner, Managing Director with Experian Consumer Services UK&I, commented: “The truth is that both consumers and online service providers have a role to play in protecting personal information shared online as a lapse by either party will result in an increased risk of online identity theft or fraud. Some online service providers are already rising to the challenge and providing services to help protect their customers. However all online service providers should be asking themselves what their role is in helping to protect consumers from identity theft.
“Taking a proactive approach to the protection of customers’ online identities, enhances customer relationships and builds trust in brands, which is extremely valuable to brand managers. Customers want to know that the processes and support exist, should they ever need to call on them”, continued Peter Turner.
Below is a summary of the key research findings for each sector:
Internet Service Providers
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Notes to editors:
Here is a summary of the key findings on consumer security behaviour and attitudes towards identity theft
The value of personal networks and reputations
Nobody would dispute the value of personal networks has grown immensely since consumers use the internet more and more to manage and interact with them. Yet, we still take risks that could leave us exposed to the risks of identity theft. The personal reputation of consumers within their online networks, is having an impact on how users quantify risk online:
Despite the concerns outlined above and that consumers consider themselves to be mindful of Internet risks and to take measures to reduce online risk, many bad habits remain that contradict their good intentions. Good behaviour is represented by:
Despite this, there is also a tendency to avoid Internet best practice:
2,249 interviews were conducted with adults in the UK aged 18+ who have in the past 12 months: accessed the internet through their internet service provider, used mobile data on their mobile phone, used internet banking or played games on their PC or a console, involving registering or paying for access.
15 in-depth interviews were conducted among those involved in protecting customer identity and information online, and working in banking, ISPs, Mobile providers, Insurance providers and Internet gaming organisations.
Interviews took place by telephone in January and February 2013. Research conducted by Loudhouse, an independent research agency based in London.
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.
Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2012 was US$4.5 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 44 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.
Experian Consumer Services offers a suite of Identity Protection products to help consumers and businesses manage the risk of data loss and ID fraud. Products include DataPatrol, DataAlert and ProtectMyID as well as the unique web monitoring tool offered as part of Experian CreditExpert, which alerts customers as soon as their personal information is used or misused online.
For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com