The Pew Research Center found 28 percent of Americans are “not confident at all” that the federal government can keep their personal information safe
The Pew Research Center found 28 percent of Americans are “not confident at all” that the federal government can keep their personal information safe

A recent study found that despite their distrust in companies to properly secure personal data, Americans frequently neglect to follow best practices when securing data themselves.

The Pew Research Center found 28 percent of Americans are “not confident at all” that the federal government can keep their personal information safe and secure from unauthorized users, while 24% of social media users lack any confidence in these sites to protect their data.

“By contrast, just 12 percent of Americans (and 9 percent of social media users) have a very high level of confidence that these entities can keep their personal information safe and secure,” researchers said.

Some 64 percent of Americans have personally experienced a breach and that relatively large shares of the public lack trust in key institutions to protect their data.

These breaches have come back to haunt respondents in the form of credit card fraud, 41 percent, sensitive information compromises, 35 percent,  hacked email accounts, 16 percent, loan/ credit fraud, 14 percent, and tax fraud, six percent.

Some 49 percent of respondents felt that that their personal information is less secure than it was five years ago while only 18 percent felt  their information has gotten more secure in recent years, and 31 percent feel that their information is about as safe as it was five years ago, the report said.

Despite the fears, Americans aren't doing much to keep their information safe themselves and in some cases are taking unnecessary risks with the security of their data such as the 39 percent of respondents who admitted to using the same, or very similar passwords across multiple accounts.

Twenty-five percent of respondents admitted to using passwords that are less secure than they'd like because simpler passwords are easier to remember.

The findings of the survey are in line with those of an earlier study which found millennials where so unconfident in data security that they would consider chip implants for verification.

The survey also found that despite growing up in the age of social media, the majority respondents stated their level of trust as “none” or “a little” for social media platforms yet just over half of the respondents replied “very important” or “vital” when asked how important it was for social media content to only be shared with those they have authorized access.