Chicago, IL – September 6, 2012 – Fear of
lost or stolen credit cards ranks as the highest identity theft concern among
consumers. However, more serious and costly threats are considered less
worrisome, according to a poll by the Better Business Bureau in August 2012.
Thirty percent of the
respondents ranked credit card loss or theft as their greatest ID protection
concern. Another 23 percent worried hackers would steal credit card and
personal data from a business database. Rated least concerning, by 14 percent
of those responding, was the disposal of personal papers in the garbage. Also
low on the anxiety list was use of credit card information online (18 percent)
or on the telephone (15 percent).
"Losing or having a credit
card stolen is certainly a worry," said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO
of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago
and Northern Illinois. "However, credit
card companies have elaborate security programs to quickly stop credit access
and limit consumer financial exposure to fraudulent use. On a rating scale,
credit card loss is towards the less distressful end, though it should always
be guarded against."
Bernas explained that consumers
should be most worried about the material they have the most control over,
their personal papers in the trash. Yet, he said, this was the area where the
fewest expressed concern.
"Papers with personal data
and credit card numbers on them can be a treasure trove of information for
fraudsters, and a serious risk to consumers," said Bernas. "Shredding
these types of documents is essential for any type of personal identity
"Personal documents that
are not shredded can be used without any safeguards or the consumer's knowledge
until the person's credit score suffers or a bill appears from use of a credit
card that the consumer never applied for."
Hackers getting access to
business databases is a growing concerning and one that will likely continue,
Bernas noted. However, businesses continue to take action and improve their
"Consumers need to take
control over what they have their hands on," urged Bernas. "Guard
credit cards and shred any documents with personal information. These are two
actions every person can take to lessen the risk of their identity being
For more consumer
tips, visit www.bbb.org
private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is
to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by
means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising
claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop
and issue reviews on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company
or charity before making a purchase or donation.