MADISON, Wis. (5/7/14)--While U.S. Internet users are becoming increasingly more concerned with the safety of their personal data, many still aren't taking action when a legitimate threat presents itself, new research has found.
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A recent study conducted by GfK, a market research agency, revealed that 60% of Internet users are more concerned about their data than they were last year, with higher levels of concern reported by all age demographics (eMarketer May 6).
The Temkin Group, a customer experience consulting firm, also reported Monday a significant jump in the number of consumers who worry about the security of their personal information: an increase up to 74.8% in the first quarter of 2014 from 68.7% in the last quarter of 2013.
The Credit Union National Association continues to urge federal lawmakers to address data security relative to merchants, who aren't required to meet the same security standards as those of credit unions and other financial institutions.
CUNA leaders maintain that all payments system participants must be held to comparable levels of federal data security requirements.
Despite these concerns, the research uncovered that consumers often fail to take steps to safeguard sensitive personal information when an actual threat materializes.
After March's Heartbleed incident, which may have exposed personal information stored on more than 500,000 websites, less than 40% of those who knew about the problem had moved to protect their online information, according to a study by Princeton Data Source. Less than three of 10 respondents reported being concerned about their personal information at all following the issue.
Research has found that in general only 39% of U.S. Internet users change their computer passwords regularly.
Meanwhile, more than three-quarters of Internet users at least "somewhat agreed" they'd stop using a service, product or retailer if they believed their privacy had been violated, according to a poll conducted by Radius Global Market, reported by eMarketer.
Nearly 80% of Internet users said they only purchased goods or services from companies they trusted, and more than two-thirds said they only did business with companies they felt could properly handle their personal data.
Further, companies who can assuage consumers' data security concerns may in fact attract more business, the study found, as the majority of respondents said they would pay higher prices if they believed the company valued the privacy of their information.