Every day while consumers do their shopping in stores or online, cyber thieves are working hard to hack into computer systems and steal personal information.
Now, a new study done from the National Consumer League finds that Chicagoans need to do a better job to protect their personal information.
"The numbers are kind of extraordinary, since 2005 there's been estimated 4000 security breaches, at this point probably 900 million people's information has been stolen or compromised at some point,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
The December data breach at Target and then other retailers created a much greater sense of awareness for consumers. The NCL study compared how data breaches impacted consumers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Minneapolis. It found Chicagoans are more likely than their counterparts in Los Angeles and Miami to fall victim to credit card fraud after a data breach.
“I've definitely experienced some form of identity theft before so I definitely take care to protect stuff like that,” said Chicagoan Troy Fennett.
But the attorney general’s office said that many people still don’t take basic steps to protect their financial information.
However, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said many people still fail to take basic steps to protect themselves from identity theft or fraud.
“People really do need to read their bank account statements, they really do need to read their credit card statements or if you bank online you need to make sure all those transactions are things you recognize and the amounts are the amounts you authorized,” Madigan said.
She also said its very importan for people to put transactions alerts on their credit cards, and make sure to request and review copies of their credit reports every year which are free.
Complaints about identity theft to the Attorney General’s office skyrocketed 1500 percent from 2012 to 2013.
"I'm much more mindful, I'm probably not as smart as a younger kid about how to get around it, but I'm very mindful of it,” said Judy Braun of Vernon Hill.s
Madigan said while consumers need to do their part, businesses also have to do a better job to secure people’s personal information. To that end, the National Consumer League has launched a new social media campaign #DataInsecurity to call for reforms and push businesses to improve data security procedures.