Yes, I’m at risk for ID theft. And no, it’s not my fault.

person at computer with someone's credit card

Northwesterners, it turns out, are more “worrier” than “warrior” when it comes to safeguarding themselves against identity theft this holiday season. In a PEMCO Poll, 86% said they were at least somewhat concerned about their identities being stolen. But half believe it’s out of their hands, claiming businesses don’t do enough to protect the credit cards we swipe at the register. Nearly one-third feel the same about online retailers.

In other words, with so many ways for an identity-stealing Grinch to pluck off our private information, why not dump it from the top of Mount Crumpet and just get on with carving the roast beast?!

We’re so skeptical about our ability to thwart identity theft that shredder use has dropped 12% over the past two years, particularly among young people (70% of the over-55 crowd still shreds sensitive documents, compared with 44% of people under 35). Interestingly, shredder-eschewing younger consumers say they worry more about mail theft than their older shredding counterparts.

Our big takeaway: Why make a Grinch’s job easier? For the 44% of us who still haven’t done it, install a locking mailbox or rent a post office box. Create strong passwords (that include upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols), monitor online accounts, and review financial statements promptly. And if you have a Millennial on your holiday gift list? Plop a big red bow on a crosscut shredder!

Read full results of the poll of 1,200 Washington and Oregon residents by Seattle’s FBK Research, and check out the free identity theft services PEMCO customers get automatically. 

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