A new National Foundation for Credit Counseling poll found 64% of consumers are afraid they may become victims of identity theft, and the rising popularity of smartphones may be the culprit of that fear.
According to the Washington-based nonprofit, smartphone sales beat out personal computer sales last year, smartphone sales are expected to continue growing over the next four years, and 62% of smartphone owners don’t use passwords to protect the information stored on their devices.
“A healthy fear of identity theft is a good thing,” said the foundation’s Gail Cunningham. “People often become complacent, particularly with their mobile devices. When people see their wallet, credit cards or checkbook, they think of money. However, they don’t connect the dots that critical financial information may be stored on their smartphone, thus putting them at significant risk if lost or stolen.”
To help consumers learn how to prevent identity theft and put their fears aside, NFCC, along with the National Sheriffs’ Association and the National Association of Triads, will host the fifth annual Protect Your Identity Week campaign Oct. 20-27.
The NFCC said this year’s campaign’s theme is “ID Theft Protection on the Go” and will focus on threats related to smartphones.
Nearly 100 educational workshops, lectures and services such as free personal document shredding, safe cell phone recycling and credit report reviews will be offered nationwide as part of the campaign, the NFCC said.
Campaign sponsors include the Cincinnati, Ohio-based document management provider Cintas, which will offer document shredding services, and Austin, Texas-based identity theft protection company AllClear ID.
Consumers can learn more about the events planned at www.protectyouridnow.org.