Nearly 34 million UK adults have been victims of data breaches over the past two years, yet over 25 million of them are completely unaware that their personal data has been stolen.
So says research carried out by Callcredit owned free credit checking service Noddle, which analysed 30 high-profile hacks over the past two years, including breaches at TalkTalk, Yahoo, PlayStation, the AA and Three.
The researchers calculate that up to 77% of the UK adult population of 44 million had fallen victim to cybercriminals, however when it quizzed a representative sample of 2,000 some 58% said they did not know that their details had been compromised.
Personal information taken by hackers, which often ends up for sale on the dark web, has included names, addresses, phone numbers, bank account details and passwords.
But almost half of survey respondents who knew about the attacks admitted not changing their passwords or being vigilant for phishing emails, despite knowing the fraud risks.
Some 60% of those surveyed said they had not even been told by the companies involved and only found out through media reports.
The survey was carried out before the data thefts at ridesharing firm Uber and credit agency Equifax, which suggests the figures could be higher. Noddle said people concerned that they were affected should check credit scores for unusual activity.
Noddle managing director Jacqueline Dewey said: “If your personal details are stolen they could be sold on and used to take out fraudulent credit cards, loans, a mobile phone contract or even a mortgage.”
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