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Fewer Americans Are Worried About Credit Card Theft

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People either perhaps feel like payment security has improved or just don’t care about having their data stolen, because the share of Americans who said they frequently worry about credit card data theft has gone down since last year. In an annual survey about crime, Gallup asked U.S. adults about whether they’ve encountered or if they worry about a variety of crimes, and credit card theft was again the most common one people experienced. Gallup first asked people about credit card theft in 2014.

The good news is credit card fraud seemed to decline. In 2014, 27% of respondents reported that they or their family members were victims of credit card theft, and this year, only 22% did. However, that may not be a significant difference: The margin of error on Gallup’s nationally representative poll is plus or minus four percentage points. The 2015 figures are based on phone interviews from Oct. 7 to Oct. 11 with 1,015 adults living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Whether or not the frequency of credit card theft has changed much, people don’t seem to feel terribly threatened by it. Perhaps it’s a case of data-breach fatigue: The news during the past few years has rarely been without a story about some retailer or service provider experiencing a cyberattack that compromised consumer data in the process. It’s a serious problem, but data breaches become a lot less shocking (and harder to care about) when they happen all the time. Only 34% of survey respondents said they frequently worry about credit card data theft, compared to 41% last year. It seems some frequent worriers are now occasional worriers: 35% say they occasionally worry about having their credit card data stolen (compared to 28% last year), while 18% rarely worry (versus 15%) and 12% never worry (compared with 14% in 2014).

Protecting Credit Card (and Identity) Theft 

Regardless of your degree of concern, it’s important to regularly look at your credit card and debit card statements for signs of abuse. With mobile banking and the variety of budgeting apps now available, that’s easy to do. You can call your bank or issuer immediately if you spot fraud to dispute the charges and have a new card issued.

It’s also a good idea to periodically review your credit reports, because they can also help you spot deeper identity theft. (You can learn more about signs your identity has been stolen in this article.) You can request your free annual credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com or get two of your credit scores for free every 30 days on Credit.com.

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