Welcome to the digital age. A new study by cybersecurity company Lookout reveals that when it comes to major consumer fears, scams and hacking-related threats are now Americans’ ultimate concern.
Lookout gathered results from 1,500 participants and ranked their highest concerns. While it may not be surprising that “losing my wallet” (9%) was at the very bottom of the list, the second-to-last concern was “someone breaking into my house” (10%) –– a truly terrifying threat.
Other physical real-world concerns followed such as forging a loan, getting into a car accident and experiencing a natural disaster. But the top two slots were both based in the digital realm: “someone hacking my social media” (15%) and finally, “someone hacking my bank account” (30%).
Participation in the digital world has exploded, and will continue to do so. According to Statista, there were around 295 million U.S. social media users in 2021. They project that number to rise to 323 million by 2026.
In addition, last July, Forbesreported on two studies from Cornerstone Advisors which show the massive adoption of banking apps by all generations. By May 2021, mobile banking penetration had grown to 95% of Gen Zers, 91% of Millennials, 85% of Gen Xers, 60% of Baby Boomers, and 27% of Seniors.
With millions of Americans accessing social media and banking apps daily, Lookout’s results make sense. This rapidly growing digital consumer-base fears what they cannot easily detect. A home break-in or a lost wallet is an obvious threat, while the cyber world is a difficult place to establish definite security.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), social media scams tripled in 2021, and a study by Giact Systems Inc. found that over 2020 and 2021 47% of US consumers experienced identity theft, 37% underwent application fraud, and 38% experienced account takeover.
Several steps that consumers can take to feel safer online involves using strong and unique passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and enabling a security service.
“In the same way, we have locks, safety alarms, and video doorbells installed in our homes to make us feel safer, we need to have that same level of security for our devices and online data,” read Lookout’s statement.