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Demographic Trend Analysis For Personal Data Loss

Garlik : 01 November, 2010  (Technical Article)
Garlick has analysed data loss and theft incidents in the UK and provide a breakdown of demographics with men being 60% more likely to suffer unauthorised personal data disclosure than women
Garlik, the online identify theft and fraud experts, have announced for the first time, unique research findings highlighting the extent to which the UK public is at risk of unintentionally exposing personal information online, which can then be used to commit financial or identity fraud. Garlik has analysed the DataPatrol service alerts generated over the last 12 months for over 250,000 UK customers to produce the findings. In particular the research has highlighted that men are 60% more likely to unintentionally disclose personal information, and that the probability a person will do this does not vary with age alone.

DataPatrol Alerts inform customers when personal information they have specified is found on the Internet, social networks, or offered for sale on the information black market, and helps them take action by providing any assistance required as a result of these alerts with its proactive "Alert and Mend" philosophy. This is in contrast to being alerted to fraud after the event by examining historical records in a credit file.

Key findings of the Garlik analysis

• On average, 8% of UK customers have received an alert to the online disclosure or theft of their personal information in the last 12 months
• Men are 60% more likely than women to have their personal information disclosed or stolen online
• A 60 year old is just as likely as a 30 year old to have their personal information disclosed or stolen i.e. the probability that a customer will receive an alert does not vary with age alone
• 42.4% of alerts sent relate to personal information unintentionally or unknowingly disclosed on the Internet. What is key here is that the customer may not have disclosed this information. It has been disclosed about them by another individual or organisation
• 13.6% of alerts relate to the disclosure of personal information on social networks. This is more prevalent in younger customers as would be expected, but is expected to change in the future
• Households in middle to higher income brackets appear to be at higher risk of having their personal information disclosed. They may be more engaged online and within their communities or may in general just be more "visible"
• Where you live in the UK has no bearing on how likely you are to have your personal information disclosed or stolen on line. See the Garlik Alert Map for geographic details of the alerts sent to DataPatrol customers over the last 90 days

The number of people affected by the consequences of unintentional information disclosure is continuing to grow. CIFAS, the UK's Fraud Prevention Service, announced earlier this week that Identity fraud has increased by nearly 10% in the first nine months of 2010, when compared with the same period in 2009. There has also been a huge increase in impersonation, up by 18.38% from the same period in 2009.

Andy Thomas, managing director at Garlik, said of the findings "There were two surprises in our research, firstly that there is a big difference between men and women, with men appearing to be an online or identity fraud accident waiting to happen. Secondly, age alone is not a factor in risk, which dispels the myth that young people are more net-savvy than older generations."

"Our analysis reveals the way the Internet has trivialised the task of collecting the raw materials of online and identity fraud - personal information. We all have a responsibility to look after our own personal information and importantly that we entrust to others. Staying safe online is now a life skill that needs to be taught or acquired. It is no longer the sole domain of the technically advanced; particularly as efforts get under way to attract the 9 million UK residents not currently online."

Garlik's award winning DataPatrol service alerts customers to the disclosure or theft of their personal information online and helps them take action and provides any assistance required as a result of these alerts. This pro-active, "alert and mend" process prevents the customer's information ending up in the wrong hands and stops online fraud or identity theft before it actually happens.
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