AARP commissioned a telephone survey of Washington 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 5 and September 21, 2014. In addition to 800 interviews conducted in the state, 300 interviews were conducted in King County. Overall, the study finds that many Washingtonians are not taking precautions necessary to reduce their risk of identity theft.
Specific precautions include:
Low Tech Prevention Behaviors
- Over one-third (34%) receive their mail in an unlocked mailbox or mail slot at home.
- Nearly six in ten (57%) respondents left at least one personal item in their car that could lead to identity theft.
- Nearly one in five (19%) say they never shred any of their documents that contain 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.
High Tech Prevention Behaviors
- Half (50%) have not set up online access to all of their bank accounts.
- Nearly half (49%) report that they have not set up online access to all of their credit cards.
- Less than half (49%) have changed the password to their online banking account in the past 6 months.
- Over one-quarter (26%) do not use a passcode on their smart-phone.
Identity Protection Services
- Only two in ten (19%) Washington residents have ordered a free credit report through annualcreditreport.com, in the past year, and even fewer (10%) have set up online accounts with all three credit bureaus to regularly monitor their credit.
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