Security & Fraud

Being Hacked, Having Identity Stolen Top Americans’ Feared Crimes List

What worries Americans more than cybercrime? Maybe nothing.

A recent Gallup poll published last week (Nov. 6) has found that in the United States, individuals are more fearful of being hacked in cyberspace than being victims of other crimes, such as having a car broken into, being a victim of terrorism, getting mugged, having a home burglarized and being assaulted or murdered, among other incidents.

The company’s survey polled more than 1,000 adults last month, finding more than two-thirds of U.S. adults worry “at least occasionally” about being hacked (67 percent). In addition, 66 percent say they fret about having their identities stolen.

By comparison, 38 percent listed fears of having a car stolen or broken into, followed by home burglary when they are away from the home (36 percent), being a victim of terrorism (30 percent), having a school-aged child harmed at school (26 percent), getting mugged (25 percent), home burglary while at home (23 percent), being a victim of a hate crime (22 percent), being murdered (18 percent), sexual assault (18 percent), being attacked while driving (18 percent) and being assaulted or killed by a coworker (6 percent).

The trend of cyberattack or being hacked fears has been prevalent since 2009, the year in which fears over cyberspace issues first outpaced worries about having a car broken into. In the latest observation, fears focused on cars and break-ins trailed cybertheft worries by 28 points.

According to Gallup, the percentage of respondents who worried about identity theft has ranged from 67 percent to 70 percent annually since 2009.

Twenty-five percent of respondents said they or a household member had experienced having information stolen by hackers as recently as in the past year. Another 16 percent reported being victims of identity theft. Beyond that, the Gallup survey noted, the theft of tangible money or property was the most “common conventional crime” to hit the surveyed population at 10 percent.

The Gallup release also reported the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has averaged 280,000 complaints about cybercrime annually from 2000 to 2016.


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