From time to time, here at the Identity Theft Resource Center, we partner with our sponsors to conduct surveys in order to find out more about how we can help consumers.  Recently we concluded a survey with our friends over at Private Wi-Fi and the results were stunning.

During the course of the survey we had more than 700 people respond to our questions. What we found really opened up our eyes to the bigger picture of just how everyday consumers use public Wi-Fi and what their concerns are. Below are 3 findings which we thought were extra important.

  1. 76% of survey takers said that using free Wi-Fi can lead to identity theft.  This startling statistic showed us that a good percentage of people know just how dangerous using free public Wi-Fi can be.  The word is out on the Internet and in the news that identity thieves are now using public W-Fi hotspots to pick up your personal information to commit identity theft.  The ITRC was happy to hear about this level of awareness on the issue.
  2. People were 3 times more likely to use a public Wi-Fi hotspot if it was free.  Free is good, right? Not so much when it comes to your security.  Private W-Fi came up with a concept they call “The Convenience Factor” and it is something we have been thinking about for some time here at the ITRC. Basically, it means that the desire for convenience will override a person’s desire for security in many cases.  This is an important issue to consider when we try to show everyday consumers how to stay safe.  If the advice is not convenient, people will not take to it as easily.
  3. There is some risky business going on during consumers’ use of public Wi-Fi. Of those who took the survey, 71% had accessed their email using public Wi-Fi.  Even more frightening was the amount of personal banking information consumers were making available to identity thieves.  More than one in ten of the survey takers had banked online using public Wi-Fi and 13% had shopped online using a credit card. Yikes!

In addition to everything we learned, all of the information from the survey was put into a fantastic infographic by the people over at Private Wi-Fi. The infographic is titled “The Ultimate Guide to Staying Safe on Public WiFi” and it is a great way to get the word out to people about being safe while using public Wi-Fi.  You can view the infographic below.  Please feel free to use the code below the graphic to embed it into your site to help consumers learn more about the dangers of Public Wi-Fi and how they can stay safe!

Public WiFi Dangers: In Pictures” was written by Nikki Junker.  Nikki is the Media Manager at the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to the author and linking back to the original posting.

Free WiFi Costs More Than You Think

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