Survey: More Americans Are Losing Personal Info to Digital Thieves

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
April 15 2014 12:30 PM

Survey: More Americans Are Losing Personal Info to Digital Thieves

leakagain
The threat of leaking data feels more and more pressing.

Photo from Shutterstock.

With the Target hacks still a recent memory and Heartbleed potentially affecting two-thirds of the Internet, you may be feeling like your personal data is increasingly exposed. The good news is that that’s not just paranoia whispering in your ear: A Pew survey shows an increase in the number of adults who say that their personal data has been stolen online.

The phone survey of 1,002 Americans, chosen as a "nationally representative sample," compared how many people had had personal data like their Social Security Number, credit card, or bank account information stolen in January 2014 vs. July 2013. It found that overall, 18 percent of adults who use the Internet have had information stolen compared. Last July, that number was 11 percent. In both January 2014 and July 2013, 21 percent said that they had had a social media account or email account compromised.

Advertisement

Pew divides survey respondents into four age groups (19-29, 30-49, 50-64, and 65+), and every age group reported more personal data theft versus the 2013 group. Pew reports that the sampling error for all the data is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, so it's possible that some of the margins are slimmer than they seem. But, even if the maximum margin of error applied, there would still be a small total increase.

It’s a time of crisis—and all you can do is keep your will strong and your passwords stronger.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 3:07 PM Everything Is a "Women's Issue"
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.