How to reduce your fear of cybercrime, and protect yourself

When it comes to crime, Americans fear the invisible cybercrook far more than they do the crook who’s in plain sight.

In a survey commissioned by, 46 percent of adults in the U.S. said having their identity stolen would be worse than having their home broken into. Just 27 percent said a home break-in would be worse.

That finding aligns with Americans’ overall fear of cybercrime – a fear, experts say, that’s fueled in large part by the broad reach of data breaches and other cybercrimes, as well as by widespread media coverage of them.

In a 2018 survey by Gallup, cybercrime ranked as the most feared crime in the country. The survey showed that only two types of crime worried the majority of Americans: having their personal, credit card or financial information nabbed by a computer hacker (71 percent) and having their identity stolen (67 percent).

By comparison:

  • 40 percent of American adults feared a home burglary.
  • 37 percent feared a car theft or break-in.
  • 25 percent feared mugging.
  • 24 percent feared terrorism.

For many Americans, the fear of cybercrime is real. Twenty-three percent of American adults surveyed by Gallup reported that someone in their household had personal, credit card or financial information stolen by a hacker in the previous 12 months. That ranked as the top crime experienced by the people surveyed — above identity theft (16 percent), monetary or property theft (14 percent) and vandalism (11 percent).

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