TrueCredit

November 07, 2005 11:40 ET

Despite Startling Increase In Identity Theft, 70 Percent of Canadians Still Think It's Unlikely They Will be Victimized

TORONTO--(CCNMatthews - Nov 7, 2005) -

TransUnion, a leading authority on consumer credit, today released a survey conducted by Roper Public Affairs on how likely Canadians think they are to become victims of identity theft. Despite manifold evidence of increased identity theft, a full 70 percent think it is "somewhat" or "very" unlikely that they will be victimized.

"Identity thieves are no longer common criminals sifting through your garbage. The techniques used by today's identity thieves evolve so rapidly that even technologically sophisticated people and organizations are at risk of having their information stolen," said Mark Merritt, Vice President, Customer Solutions of TransUnion in Canada. "Canadians are becoming more cognizant of this threat, but as the survey reveals, much more vigilance will be required."

According to Phone Busters Call Centre, a Canadian antifraud hotline, identity theft complaints rose 63 percent between 2002 and 2003; the last year for which full statistics were available. The Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus estimates consumers, banks, credit card firms, stores and other businesses lose more than $2.5 (Canadian) billion every year to the perpetrators of identity theft.

Still, just 24 percent of Canadians believe the threat is real, saying they think it is "very" or "somewhat" likely that they will be victimized by identity theft. Only one in twenty (5 percent) say they think it is "very" likely to happen to them.

"Identity theft can happen to anyone. Consumers should be aware of the widespread consequences of these crimes, and attentively monitor their credit to catch fraudulent activity in its earliest stages," Merritt said. "With services such as TransUnion's Credit Monitoring, this is becoming more viable and affordable for Canadians to accomplish. The quarterly reports and weekly alerts aid consumers in quickly identifying and correcting any fraudulent activities."

The TransUnion/Roper survey also found:

-- Gender and Education are not Factors in Considering Identity Theft: Roughly seven in ten men (70 percent) and women (71 percent) of differing education levels think it is unlikely they will experience identity theft in the coming year.

-- Older Canadians More Confident in Their Identity Safety: One in six (17 percent) Canadians age 50 and over think it is likely they will be an identity theft victim. Nearly one in three (29 percent) 30-to-40 year old Canadians and one in four (25 percent) 18-to-29 year old Canadians think they will be a victim.

-- Small City Canadians Feel More Secure: Close to three in seven (42 percent) small city (under 500,000 population) respondents think it is very unlikely that they will be the victim of identity theft in the next year, while nearly one in three (31 percent) residents of larger cities think they will be a victim.

Methodology

Roper Public Affairs conducted this study using Random Digit Dialing (RDD) methodology from September 2 to September 4, 2005. A total of 1,004 interviews were conducted among adults across Canada. Age, gender, income and geographic information was collected. The margin of error for the complete sample is +/- 3 percentage points. The margin of error for subgroups may be higher.

TransUnion in Canada was formed in 1989 with the goal of offering the highest quality consumer credit related products and services to the Canadian market. TransUnion's products are developed to meet the decisioning demands of Canadian businesses and the credit management needs of the Canadian consumers. Based in Toronto, TransUnion provides local service and support in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Montreal, Quebec City, Rimouski, Moncton, Charlottetown, Dartmouth and St. John's. TransUnion in Canada is a fully owned subsidiary of TransUnion LLC, with international headquarters located in Chicago, Illinois. Visit www.TransUnion.ca to learn more.

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