One in seven Americans were notified of personal data breaches last year

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consumer reports, malware, united states, online privacy, email phishing scams

Personal data theft has become an increasing concern for everyone, but according to a recent Consumer Reports survey, most US consumers do nothing to protect themselves even with data theft on the rise.

The survey found that one in seven Americans, or around 45 million people, were notified that their personal data was breached in 2013, up 56% from the year prior. The survey also pointed out that 29% had their personal computers infected with malware and as many as 11.2 million Americans fell for email phishing scams.

Even with the increasing rate of data theft, as many as 62% of those surveyed have done nothing to protect themselves. While it's possible many of the personal data breaches were due to security issues on a corporate level, using (and not reusing) solid passwords and avoiding sketchy emails/downloads will likely keep most people safe from email scams and malicious software.

Recently eBay urged its users to change thier account passwords after names, addresses, email addresses, encrypted passwords and more for millions of users were breached.

As The Washington Post points out, another study conducted late last year by Pew Research suggested that US internet users were more careful than the recent Consumer Report study would lead us to believe. According to Pew, as many as 86% of Americans are in some way aware or taking actions to ensure their personal privacy online. However, the same study said that 59% of those surveyed were unaware that one could become entirely anonymous online and that 68% believe current laws are not strong enough to protect personal online privacy.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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