Despite concerns over breaches, 40% of cardholders have provided Social Security numbers online


Two years after the Equifax breach, four in 10 consumers holding credit or debit cards have included their full Social Security numbers on an online form, a new report has found.

In research conducted for the second year in a row to mark the anniversary of the 2017 Equifax breach that exposed the personal information of 148 million people, CompareCards by Lending Tree explored how Americans using credit and debit cards view breaches and how they’ve taken steps to safeguard against ID theft.

Although 95 percent of cardholders expressed hesitation at providing personal information online – and 95 percent have taken action to protect themselves by looking for signs of identity theft (44 percent) and reviewed their online bank and credit card statement more frequently (66 percent) – only 40 percent have checked their credit reports over the past year.

The report found American consumers are cognizant of the uptick in breaches with 91 percent believing the incidents are becoming more common. While 42 percent of those surveyed said they will file for damages under the Equifax settlement, one in five who were affected by the breach won’t claim damages.

"Being jaded about the insecurity of our financial information only makes the bad guys' job easier,” said Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst at CompareCards. “Consumers can take simple steps to protect themselves against identity theft and fraud like being careful about where and when you provide your full Social Security number, monitoring credit scores and regularly checking credit reports for any unauthorized activity."

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