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Many Americans continue to make crucial security mistakes with their finances


Many Americans continue to make crucial security mistakes with their finances Title Image

Now more than ever, it is easier for hackers to obtain private information. Card Skimmers Y formjacking These are just some of the new ways in which hackers have begun to focus on financial information in the last decade. Thanks to these new methods, 157,688 credit card fraud reports They were filed in 2018.

In a 2018 survey, we discovered that theft and fraud were the biggest fears of Americans about owning a credit card compared to things like debt and excessive spending.

For this survey, we wanted to discover how careful Americans are with their finances given the high prevalence of fraud and their fear levels. We asked a total of 4,000 Americans a series of questions about their security habits with their financial information and discovered that many Americans have risky behaviors.

Key results

  • More than a third of Americans have thrown financial documents without destroying them.
  • A quarter of Americans carry all their credit cards with them
  • Almost one in five Americans has made purchases with public WiFi
  • Almost twice as many men have sent text messages or emails to the credit card number compared to women

More than a third have thrown financial documents without
Crush them

Before we dive into American habits with digital files and information, we will first see how old-fashioned paper files are treated. Unfortunately, we discovered that more than one in three Americans still throws financial paperwork without going through the shredder. Anyone who discards confidential files as they are is at risk of credit card fraud and identity theft of both thieves and garbage divers.

Financial documents include things like credit card offers, bills and bank statements. Launching these documents without destroying them allows scammers the opportunity to open credit cards in your name, gain access to your bank account and perform other malicious actions that can borrow you and affect your credit score.

Here are examples of what information thieves can steal from your uncrushed documents:

Information thieves can steal the image of documents without shredding

In addition to the documents listed in the image above, the FTC also recommends that things like sales receipts be shredded immediately, but important documents such as tax returns must be retained forever.

A quarter of Americans carry all credit cards at all times

Carrying multiple credit cards naturally increases the chances of theft and loss. However, we discovered that almost a quarter of Americans carry all their credit cards.

A survey found that 64 percent of people have lost their wallet, wallet, wallet or money clip at least once. Another discovered that more than a quarter He spent more than a few days undoing the damage. Missing your own wallet is a problem, but pickpockets are another danger that you should watch.

Atlantic reporter Rene Chun reported that pickpockets are finding new opportunities to steal as Americans get more distracted with their devices. He found that pickpockets increased in Chicago by 13 percent between 2017 and 2018. Theft of his wallet by a pickpocket is much worse if he carries all his cards compared to just having one.

Nearly one fifth of Americans have made a purchase while using public WiFi

Making last-minute gifts or shopping at your local coffee shop seems convenient, but you can put it at great risk if you are not careful about what you click and how you connect to the Internet. Our survey found that one in five Americans has run this risk.

Mobile purchases have become increasingly risky over the years. Experience discovered that e-commerce fraud increased by 30 percent in 2017. Medium and large retailers offering mobile services saw a 134 percent increase in fraud between 2018 and 2019.

This is alarming since buying online already comes with a series of vulnerabilities that hackers can take advantage of. E-skimming It is a method in which hackers use malicious codes on payment pages to steal payment information. Pharming It is another hacking technique that redirects traffic from a website to a fake site so that users send their information without knowing it.

Fraudulent Image Cases

Source: LexisNexis Risk Solutions as reported by Retail Dive

The combination of online shopping risks such as these with the dangers of public WiFi creates even more opportunities for hackers.

Here are some ways that hackers can steal your information while shopping on public WiFi:

  • Fake access points: Hackers set up fraudulent WiFi hotspots to trick you into believing they are real. This allows them to access their files and information and potentially download malware to their phone.
  • Man attack in the middle (MITM): Hackers intercept data by exploiting security vulnerabilities if you are browsing the Internet with an unsecured connection. Hackers can steal passwords, financial data and more with this method.
  • Sidejacking: Hackers hijack your current browsing session to gain access to any account that you are currently logged in to.
  • Shoulder-surf: Since public WiFi implies that you are in a public area, you risk others seeing your screen and reading things like passwords, pins and account numbers on your shoulder.

Hackernoon Writer Patrick Wilbur organized an experiment in early 2019 to demonstrate how easy it is to steal information from public WiFi users. In one afternoon, 49 devices connected to your fake WiFi were called "free guest WiFi" that would have given you the opportunity to set up a phishing attack and trick people into sending their personal information.

Twice as many men have sent text messages or emails to their credit card number compared to women

Regardless of their gender, anyone can easily become a victim of fraud by sending text messages or sending confidential information via email. In addition to your accounts, security with your mobile device is another factor to consider. Fraud attacks through mobile applications increased by 191 percent only in the first half of 2019.

Keep your financial information safe

The potential for identity theft requires that we all be attentive to both our online and offline activities. Unfortunately, there is no real way to completely prevent identity theft. That is why it is so important to understand how to detect signs of fraud in addition to knowing how to prevent it.

One way to detect if you are a victim of identity theft is by scanning your credit report for items that appear suspicious or incorrect. Any fraudulent or inaccurate information that remains in your report may unfairly eliminate your credit score and should be removed as soon as possible.

If you believe you are a victim of fraud, contact the Lexington Law Firm team for a free credit report consultation to see how we can help you identify and eliminate inaccurate information.


This study was conducted for Lexington Law using Google Consumer Surveys. The sample consisted of no less than 1,000 complete answers per question. The post-stratification weighting has been applied to ensure accurate and reliable representation of the total population. This survey was conducted in December 2019.

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