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AARP Research

Safe and Secure? AARP Survey of Ohio Residents on Identity Theft Prevention

AARP commissioned a telephone survey Ohio residents age 18 and older about their behaviors to prevent identity theft, including their usage and privacy of personal mail, the Internet, banking, and credit reports.  This report highlights results from residents interviewed between September 24 and September 30, 2014. The results show that many Ohioans age 18 and older, especially young adults and seniors, are not taking precautions necessary to reduce their risk of identity theft.

Learn: Find more reports from AARP Research

Key findings include:

Ohioans Risk Personal Information Theft

  • Six in ten Ohioans do not have locked mailboxes at home.
  • Nearly one-quarter never shred personal documents that could be used to steal their identity.
  • More than a third of Ohio residents who can access their bank accounts online are still getting paper statements—even with unlocked mailboxes.
  • In the past six months, three out of ten car-owning Ohioans have left at least one “valuable,” such as cell phones, purses/wallets, and laptops, in their car that could have contained personal information
  • Many residents greatly increase their risk of identity theft by carrying more pieces of personal information in their wallets than may be needed on a daily basis.

Many Have Failed to Adopt Online Theft Prevention Habits

  • Three out of ten smartphone users in Ohio do not passcode-protect their phones.
  • Just under half of Ohioans do not use distinctly different passwords on every online account.
  • Half have not changed their online bank account password in the past six months—nearly one-quarter have never changed it.

Few Ohioans Take Advantage of Identity Protection Services

  • Only one in ten Ohioans say they have ordered a free copy of their credit report through the authorized website in the past year, and even fewer have set up online accounts with all three credit bureaus to regularly monitor their credit.

One in twelve Ohioans Age 18 or Older Have Been Subject To Identity Theft in the Past 12 Months

  • One-quarter of Ohioans age 18 or older have been notified by a company they have done business with in the past year that their information has been subject to a security breach.   While most took action, such as increased monitoring of their online accounts, one-fourth report their information was used for unauthorized purchases.

For more information, contact Kate Bridges at


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