NewsNational News


Data breaches: study shows many not taking action to protect personal info

Posted at 4:46 AM, Sep 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-07 08:14:55-04

It's an anniversary that is not exactly worth celebrating, but it is worth noting. It was one year ago today that nearly 150 million Americans learned their identity was compromised. 

The Equifax breach is the largest data breach of personal information in history.

But, despite the heightened awareness and media attention, a new study by McAfee found that not a lot of consumers have taken action to ensure it does not happen again. 

The company found that just over 35 percent of consumers have decided to use identity theft protection. Nearly 30 percent said they had no plans to add any kind of protection anytime soon. 

Another study by Kroll found overall that reports of data breaches to the Information Commissioner increased by roughly 75 percent over the last two years alone. 

RELATED: 'SIM swapping' cybercrime threatens cell phone owners 

McAfee’s Chief Consumer Security Evangelist Gary Davis said consumers have a mentality still that, "it won't happen to them" and believes that each new story about another breach, it just becomes white noise. 

"And after a while, the consumer just throws their hands up and says, 'Enough, I'm going to take my chances and hope nothing bad happens,'" Davis described. "And hope should never be a strategy for protecting your digital life."

Davis said that it is important to realize that we need to go back to basics when it comes to outsmarting cyber crooks.

Know of a scam or consumer issue? Contact Let Joe Know and get help

He said more than 70 percent of data breaches are not started by big, elaborate plots.

Instead, it starts with the original 'phishing' scam -- an email or a pop-up that gets you to click and give out your personal information. 

"If you're not expecting it or if it's from a company that you've heard of, but you're not expecting any kind of discussion with them - try other techniques," Davis explained. "Call the company directly, go to the website. If you get an email, from your uncle you haven't heard from in years and years and years, call your uncle - don't click on the email that he's sending you."