May 11, 2016

Americans Would Rather Break a Bone Than Have Identity Data Stolen

San Mateo, Calif. – May 11, 2016 – Just how much do Americans want to shield their data? Sticks and stones may break their bones but they’d rather have that (18 percent) than get their identity and payment information stolen. According to a survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Feedzai, a data science company that uses real-time, machine-based learning to analyze big data and minimize risk in the financial industry, 59 percent of Americans say it is never acceptable for a company to use or access their personal data without their permission, while 29 percent say it’s OK if it’s when national security is at stake. In the aftermath of the Apple controversy, it looks as though more Americans would side with Apple when it comes to their data and whom it’s shared with, and when.

Feedzai Reveals Consumer Distrust with Companies and Organizations Handling Personal Information in Harris Poll

“Personal data and who and when it’s shared with has been a hot topic of discussion and it’s an issue we take very seriously as a data science company,” said Nuno Sebastiao, Feedzai CEO and co-founder. “While consumers may not think about the complex wiring and plumbing of companies and organizations and how they wheel and deal personal data, there is an expectation that they’re using the latest technology, such as machine learning, to protect it. While trust with merchants and companies is varied from person to person, all of these organizations need to live up to the expectation by not breaking consumer trust.”

The “Consumer Trust Survey: Data in the Hands of Companies and Government” was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Feedzai from April 4-6, 2016 among 2,143 U.S. adults age 18 and older. Further results include:

Would you rather

In addition to bone breaks, Americans would rather suffer through a number of unpleasant activities than have their identity and payment information stolen.

·         A hangover (44 percent)

·         Endure a daily, long commute to work (35 percent)

·         Be cheated on by a significant other (12 percent)

·         Get evicted (9 percent)

Poking under the hood

Whether personal, national or company security is at stake, the majority of Americans believe it is never acceptable for companies to use their personal data and accounts without their permission.

·         While 41 percent say it is acceptable for a company to use/access their personal data without their permission in certain circumstances, 59 percent say it’s never acceptable.

·         About 30 percent of Americans think it’s acceptable to share their personal data if national or personal security is at stake (29 percent and 28 percent, respectively). Less than 1 in 10 say it’s acceptable if a company’s security is at stake (9 percent).

Trust issues

There’s irony in where Americans most trust their data. The entities and organizations they trust the most may be doing the least in data monetization. One in four (25 percent) Americans trust banking sites and 13 percent trust government entities the most with their personal data. A mere 2 percent or less trust each of the following types of companies: mobile phone manufacturers (2 percent), search engines (2 percent), wireless providers (2 percent), big corporations (1 percent) and social media sites (1 percent).

·         Less than 1 percent trust these companies: mobile gaming apps, mobile sharing apps.

·         More than half (51 percent) do not trust any company or organization with their data.

Risky business

Americans are most suspicious of the devices they own versus devices they do not own. Only 23 percent of Americans think they are most at-risk for fraud when using a Point-of-Service (POS) device in a retail location, while 44 percent think using their own smartphones, desktop/laptop, tablet or standard mobile phone put them at higher risk for fraud.

·         Nearly one fourth (23 percent) of Americans say a POS device is most at risk for fraud.

·         Smartphones topped the list of personal devices Americans think are at most risk for fraud (22 percent), followed by desktop/laptop (17 percent), tablet (2 percent) and standard mobile (2 percent).

Data > Personalization

Less than one in five (17 percent) Americans would be more likely to give companies more access to their personal information saved on their phone or computer if it meant they received better marketing offers and personalization. Folks in the West are more likely to say this (22 percent) than those in the Midwest (14 percent). College graduates (22 percent) are more likely to indicate this than those with less than a college degree (14 percent) and parents of children under age 18 in the household (34 percent) are more likely to say this than those who aren’t (11 percent).

Personalization doesn’t mean squat. More than eight in 10 (83 percent) Americans are unlikely to give companies more access to their information in exchange for better marketing or personalization.

Check here if you agree…

More than two in three Americans are more likely to read the Terms of Agreement or Terms & Conditions of a major company, retailer or brand when there has been a security breach in the news, or if they know someone personally affected by a security breach at said company (68 percent, each).

Fear the hacker

Just under half (42 percent) of Americans are most afraid of their social security number being stolen by a hacker, followed by banking login information (28 percent) and credit card information (15 percent).

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Feedzai from April 4-6, 2016 among 2,143 U.S. adults age 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Stephanie Cooley at [email protected] or 415-254-0318.


About Feedzai:
Feedzai is the world’s first RiskOps platform, protecting people and payments with a comprehensive suite of AI-based solutions designed to stop fraud and financial crime. Feedzai is trusted by leading financial institutions to manage critical risk and compliance processes, safeguarding trillions of dollars of transactions while improving the customer experience and protecting the privacy of everyday users. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:
Feedzai [email protected]