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Identity Theft Concerns Weigh Heavy: No. 1 Fear
Credit and Debit Card Info Misuse No. 2
Blue Bell, Pa. -- (June 30, 2008) Fears about identity theft and financial fraud are top global concerns for consumers, according to the latest results of the Unisys Security Index. Identity theft is the primary security concern cited among respondents in nine out of 14 countries, while misuse of credit or debit card information ranks as the first or second greatest fear in 12 out of the 14 countries.
The Unisys Security Index presents a social indicator that measures consumer concern in relation to four areas of security: national, financial, Internet and personal safety. Unisys conducted the first global research in August 2007, as part of a bi-annual study to gauge consumer sentiment about security issues in 14 countries. The current research includes responses from 13,296 people, polled between March and April 2008.
Compared to last year, the Unisys Security Index declined three points to 134, representing a moderate level of overall concern about security issues worldwide. (The Unisys Security Index measures consumer sentiment on a scale of zero to 300, with 300 representing the highest level of perceived anxiety). Fears about identity theft and financial fraud also were the top concerns in August 2007.
Within the four specific areas studied, the current results show overall concern about financial security ranks the highest (143 out of 300), followed by personal security and national security (tied at 138), and Internet security (118). Other key findings include:
· Compared to 2007 global findings, the current Unisys Security Index again shows that consumer concern is highest in Asia - specifically Hong Kong (189), Singapore (176), and Malaysia (164) – as well as the growing economy of Brazil (169).
· Hong Kong residents cite security fears at or near the highest concern level in all four areas (the country’s total score is 189), particularly fear of becoming victims of bank card fraud (243), meeting basic financial obligations (188) and being subject to health epidemics (214).
· With the exception of Germany, which is the only European country that registers high concern about security issues, Europeans generally have less fears than people in the rest of the world; apprehension varies with low to moderate rankings, depending on the country.
· French consumers are least concerned worldwide, with fears at or near the lowest level of concern in all four areas. France’s score as a whole is a mere 76.
· Since the baseline global survey in August 2007, Unisys Security Index scores have risen markedly in Spain (+23), Singapore (+17), and Hong Kong (+10). Conversely, the research shows the greatest decline in security concerns in Australia (-21), the United Kingdom (-21) and Brazil (-19).
· Seven countries demonstrate significant concern (i.e., a Unisys Security Index score equal to or greater than 150) about national security and health epidemics, including Brazil (200), Malaysia (192), Singapore (188), Hong Kong (184), U.S. (167), Spain (166) and Germany (163).
· Compared to August 2007, segments of the population in the United States and Hong Kong experience more stress about meeting basic financial obligations, such as paying credit card bills and mortgage payments.
“Such drastic differences among regions proves that security is a local issue, despite the many threats that extend across geographic borders without discrimination,” said Tim Kelleher, vice president, Enterprise Security at Unisys. “People’s perceptions, concerns and needs are directly influenced by cultural norms, and the manner in which security is or is not managed by governments, businesses and other key local influencers.”
Common Complacency About Internet Security
In addition to the common fears worldwide regarding identity theft and financial fraud, another one of the few consistencies among all regions is the apparent lack of concern about using the Internet to shop, bank and email. The data indicates that concern about Internet security has taken a back seat to other areas studied, such as issues related to financial well-being and the protection against bank card fraud.
With the exception of Germany – where respondents express high concern about computer viruses, spam and the security of online shopping – every other country shows only low to moderate unease about Internet security. Interestingly, while consumers worldwide generally exhibit fewer fears about shopping online as compared to other security issues, companion Unisys research shows significant apprehension remains for newer technologies such as using a mobile device for conducting financial transactions.
“Internet security threats obviously still exist, so complacency about shopping and banking online and protection against computer viruses is an area we need to watch closely,” Kelleher said. “Companies and consumers alike need better security education so they can take the necessary steps to protect their data, particularly as the world becomes more reliant on the Web and other electronic channels.”
To access the global report of the current Unisys Security Index, see www.unisyssecurityindex.com/download-reports.asp. Unisys will release the next results in Fall 2008.
SOURCE: Unisys Security Index
The Mortgage Graveyard
News By: MortgageDaily.com