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FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny Speaks at National Consumers League Event on Data Breach, Identity Theft
|By Business Wire
|July 8, 2014 02:00 PM EDT
Federal Trade Commission Commissioner Terrell McSweeny spoke today at a
National Consumers League briefing on data breach and identity theft,
where she discussed new
research findings about the consumer impact of data breach and fraud.
Commissioner McSweeny was joined in Los Angeles by Joanne McNabb,
Director of Privacy Education & Policy for the California Office of the
Attorney General, for the second event of the National Consumers
League’s #DataInsecurity Project, a cross-country series to raise
awareness and push for action on consumer data security.
After a morning press event with several data security experts, the two
officials joined NCL Vice President John Breyault to discuss a new
study, released by NCL and Javelin Strategy & Research, which revealed
disturbing trends for Los Angeles residents who have been affected by
data breach and identity fraud. Nearly half of identity fraud victims
are unaware where their information was compromised, while 61 percent of
those who were also data breach victims reported that the breached
information was used to commit fraud. The majority of data breaches
affecting fraud victims involved a compromised retailer; fraud victims
also reported that their information was used to make unauthorized
purchases, either online (31 percent) or in person (39 percent). As a
result, Los Angeles identity fraud victims are losing trust in
retailers’ ability to keep their personal information secure and prevent
it from being used to commit fraud.
“This report shows that fraud victims are calling for a decisive and
coordinated response from both governments and the business community,”
said Sally Greenberg, NCL executive director. “We thank Commissioner
McSweeny and Director McNabb for joining us for this important
discussion, and for their continued advocacy on behalf of consumers.”
#DataInsecurity Project Findings on Los Angeles Metropolitan Area
The National Consumers League has released new research examining the
impact of data breaches and identity fraud on consumer victims in four
key regions nationwide, including the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
According to the study, Americans are urgently calling out for
government action on the growing threat posed by data breach and
The study, conducted in partnership with Javelin Strategy & Research,
shows that the impact of data breaches on consumers is indeed severe: 61
percent of data breach victims who also experienced identity theft
reported that the breached information was used to commit the fraud
against them. What’s more, nearly half of fraud victims -- 49 percent --
do not know where the information used to defraud them was compromised.
“Data insecurity is leading to real consumer harm, and this report
confirms consumers are at a loss for where to turn in the face of this
national problem,” said NCL’s Breyault. “As consumers share vast amounts
of personal data with businesses, government and other entities, they
expect their information to be protected from malicious hackers.”
The NCL/Javelin study, which includes surveys of fraud victims from Los
Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and Minneapolis, along with additional Javelin
research on national fraud trends, found that consumers are calling for
government to take action. A mere 28 percent of victims surveyed said
the government’s requirements for protecting healthcare and financial
data were “sufficient.”
In Los Angeles, 35 percent of fraud victims said their data was used to
make online purchases and 44 percent said their information was used to
make purchases in-person. Among fraud victims in Los Angeles, 82 percent
had received a notice of data breach previously which corresponds with
reporting by victims in Miami (80 percent), but it is significantly
higher than in Chicago (72 percent) and Minneapolis (66 percent).
“In this polarized political climate, it’s rare for Americans to express
such agreement on any issue,” said Al Pascual, Javelin’s Senior Analyst
of Fraud & Security. “But when it comes to the security of their
personally identifiable information, the respondents said with one voice
that the government must do more.”
According to the new study, the consequences of consumer fraud have a
serious ripple effect: fraud victims report losing trust in the
businesses where their data was compromised. For example, 59 percent of
respondents whose data was breached at a retailer expressed
“significantly decreased” trust in retailers who failed to protect their
information. “When consumer trust drops, so do sales,” added Breyault,
“This study is only the latest evidence for why the business community
should be one of the most vocal advocates for protecting consumer data.”
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer
consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and
economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and
abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.
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