The Crime Americans Fear Most: Hacking

News headlines are often dominated by stories of violent crime. But the fear of becoming a victim of murder, rape or even terrorism is not what keeps Americans awake at night — it’s the fear of hacking. That’s the conclusion of a recent Gallup Poll gauging the top crime worries in the U.S.

Leading the list is having credit card information used at stores stolen by computer hackers, cited by 69% of respondents. Coming in a close second at 62% is the fear of having your computer or smartphone hacked and the information stolen by unauthorized persons.

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Perhaps driving the fear is personal experience. According to respondents, more than a quarter of Americans, 27%, “say they or another household member had information from a credit card used at a store stolen by computer hackers during the last year.”

Michael Collins can relate. His information was stolen in late 2013 in the Target data breach. “I learned that on December 19th and 20th over two dozen credit accounts had been applied for — many successfully — at a variety of large-scale retailers.” Collins spent months untangling the damage done by a single trip to the store.

Americans’ fear of credit card hacking rose with income — 85% of respondents with an income over $75,000 worried frequently or occasionally, while the figure dropped to 50% for those with incomes below $30,000.

Gallup asked: How often do you, yourself, worry about the following things — frequently, occasionally, rarely or never? The percentages below show those who worry frequently or occasionally:

· Having the credit card information you have used at stores stolen by computer hackers 69%

· Having your computer or smartphone hacked and the information stolen by unauthorized persons 62%

· Your home being burglarized when you are not there 45%

· Having your car stolen or broken into 42%

· Having a school-aged child physically harmed attending school 31%

· Getting mugged 31%

· Your home being burglarized when you are there 30%

· Being the victim of terrorism 28%

· Being attacked while driving your car 20%

· Being a victim of a hate crime 18%

· Being sexually assaulted 18%

· Getting murdered 18%

· Being assaulted/killed by a coworker/employee where you work 7%

The margin of error is ±4 percentage points.

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