Survey Says: You’d Rather Have Your Nude Pics Leaked Than Your Financial Information

MasterCard wants to know how you feel, so they asked a bunch of people: Do you feel safe? Do you feel secure? Do you feel like you need a cookie and a nice cup of cocoa? Wait, scratch that last one. MasterCard’s survey only covered feelings about how safe and secure you feel your financial information is. The answer? Not very secure at all.

MasterCard conducted the survey in May. They call their findings the “Emotion of Safety and Security,” and the data reveals some interesting things about consumers’ attitudes towards finance and privacy.

We are, it seems, a nation of pessimists. Over three-quarters of the respondents — 77% — were concerned about their social security number or other financial information being stolen or compromised in some way. Consumers feared having their financial information being stolen much more than having their email hacked (62%), their house robbed (59%), or being pickpocketed (46%).

Those concerns, of course, seem to be entirely well-founded: it’s only July, and yet this year we’ve already seen 411 known data breaches comprising almost 118 million records (PDF). That’s on top of 761 known breaches (85.6 million records) from last year.

Still, despite the fact that businesses in both the digital and physical worlds have done a collectively miserable job of keeping everyone’s information secure, almost half (48%) of the consumers surveyed still feel that they are personally responsible for preventing their financial information from being stolen or compromised.

The vast majority, 92%, responded that they personally do take precautions to protect themselves from their financial information being compromised. But, as MasterCard points out, saying and doing are two different things.

Despite claiming they act to protect themselves, nearly half (46%) of respondents “rarely or never” change their passwords on their financial accounts, nearly half (44%) use the same password for multiple online accounts, and over a third (39%) log into financial sites while using public networks, which are likely to be unsecured or poorly secured.

And what of the security of physical cards? MasterCard reports that 68% of consumers said they use or plan to use chip-enabled cards soon, with 32% already using them. But that too is in large part out of individual consumers’ control, as various banks are updating cards on their own timelines.

Most consumers are, however, also willing to move toward a future with no physical cards in it at all. Over half already use mobile payments or plan to try them soon. And even though biometric payments and security aren’t exactly common yet, 75% of the survey respondents have at least heard of them, which is a start.

The most shocking feeling MasterCard recorded, though? Between having their financial data leaked or having their naked selfies be spring loose online, a clear majority — 55% — said they’d rather have the nude photos leaked than their financial info compromised.

This despite the fact that while the law protects consumers whose credit or debit accounts have been compromised, it has no such provisions for when other… sensitive… things get loose.

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