11 Online Privacy Statistics You May Not Know

Who can see your Facebook posts and might your credit card info end up in the wrong hands when you save it to your favorite online retailer's website (read: Target, Home Depot, etc.)? You are not alone.

Americans are becoming more concerned about their online privacy and want to learn more about how they can gain control of their personal information.

Hands typing on keyboard

A recent study by Virtru1, a digital technology company, found that 73% of Americans who use the web are concerned about online privacy.

Of those, 38% said they didn’t know how and 46% said they don’t know where to begin to secure the information contained in their email communications.

Internet privacy statistics

Below are statistics of internet users. The statistics that I found to be most pertinent are in bold and of great concern in today's society.

  • 75% of people who send emails are concerned that their personal information will be read by someone else other than the intended recipient.
  • 14% said they are not concerned about how email providers like Google and Yahoo! are using information from their private messages for targeted advertisements. On the flip side, 56% said they were extremely/very concerned/concerned with this.
  • 34% said they have begun using a secure email provider, encrypted technologies, or installing a secure browser to help protect their privacy online.
  • 21% have had an email or social media account hacked or taken over by someone else without their permission2 and 11% have had personal information stolen like their SSN, credit card, or banking information.
  • 12% have been harassed or even stalked on the internet.
  • 6% have had their reputation damaged because of the internet.
  • 86% have tried to remove or decrease their digital footprint on the internet.
  • 59% believe it is impossible to be completely anonymous while surfing the web.
  • 44% of parents of online teens say they have read the privacy policies of websites or social media sites that their child is using.3
  • 40% of US adults say they know how to fully protect their identity and personal information.
  • 68% believe that current laws are not good enough in protecting the rights of internet users.

Online privacy tips

  1. The most important thing to remember is that THE INTERNET IS FOREVER. Anything you post will be accessible forever, so don't post a picture or a comment that you may be ashamed of later.
  2. When it comes to social media sites, make sure your personal settings are as secure as possible. Your purpose for using the sites can also determine your security settings. For example, if it's a Twitter account for business, you most likely don't want all of your Tweets to be hidden. But, if it's Foursquare which posts your whereabouts, do not let people you don't know or trust follow you.
  3. Incognito mode can be your friend when checking things like your online banking.
  4. If you're a Gmail user, sign up for 2-Step Authentication to prevent others from gaining access to your email account. Many other email systems offer this as well.

How to protect yourself on the internet

Visit our Identity Theft Protection Reviews to learn more about services that will help you keep an eye on your online identity safety to prevent potential loss. 

Sources: [1]MediaPost; [2] IVN; [3] Digiday