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Survey results reveal the importance of identity theft and cyber coverage

October 13, 2022

Survey: As cyberattacks rise, consumer struggle to protect themselves

As reliance on technology has grown, so has the number of touchpoints susceptible to cybercrime. Not surprisingly, there’s been a corresponding uptick in reports of cybercrime and identity theft. A 2022 Agency Forward survey found that 20% of consumers reported having been a victim of at least one cyberattack, up 7% from 2020.

The same survey found consumers are increasingly aware that cybercrime exists and is a real-world threat. However, what they’re not quite sure of yet is the form it takes and how to respond or prevent it. In many cases, they aren’t even aware that certain cybercrimes can be insured against at a relatively low cost.

Agents can step into this knowledge gap and provide useful guidance by informing them of cybercrime and resulting identity theft trends found in Nationwide’s survey results. In addition, let your personal lines clients know that Nationwide offers identity theft coverage, which includes preventive monitoring, for only a few dollars a month.

Experience drives awareness

Cybersecurity is becoming a higher priority for the average consumer. Of those surveyed, 58% admit they’re concerned about falling victim to a cyberattack, a jump of nine percentage points from 2020. When asked what drove these concerns, 61% cited the increased frequency of attacks, and 51% cited the increased sophistication of attacks.

It’s not only media coverage of high-profile data breaches driving increased cybersecurity awareness; it’s also personal experience. According to the survey, one in 5 consumers reported having been a victim of cybercrime. The most common crimes were password attacks (38%), data breaches (31%), malware such as viruses and Trojan horses (30%) and phishing (30%). Interestingly, 10% of those surveyed weren’t sure if they’d ever been the victim of a cybercrime or not.

Cyber solutions

While consumers are increasingly aware that cybercrime exists, they are still unsure how to defend against it.

The survey found that 69% of consumers did not have cyber insurance to safeguard their digital assets. When asked why, 46% said they didn’t know enough about the topic to feel confident buying insurance; 43% simply didn’t know personal cyber insurance existed at all.

Of those without cyber insurance, 26% said they thought it would be too costly. This is a potential opportunity for agents since Nationwide customers can add identity theft protection and keep their personal data secure for only $45 a year (or as little as $4 a month). In the event of identity theft, this small investment could save tens of thousands of dollars. Only 31% of respondents said they felt prepared to prevent a cyberattack. Of those who had already fallen victim to cybercriminals, 47% admitted to having no idea where or how to start the recovery process. Additionally, 61% said the cyberattack impacted them financially. What’s more, 57% of respondents said they thought clearing up a case of stolen identity would be difficult—and they’re not wrong. According to the Insurance Information Institute, identity theft victims often spend months or even years recovering by taking actions such as reclaiming identities, untangling frauds involving their bank accounts and clearing credit scores.1 However, with insurance, that timeline shrinks dramatically. In fact, Nationwide claims show the average time to resolve an identity theft or fraud case without resolution assistance is 200+ hours. With resolution services, it is 40 hours.

And it’s not always about recovering from a crime. It’s also about preventing one. Nationwide offers a suite of preventive monitoring solutions that tracks nefarious activity such as compromised login credentials and breached data on the black market. It can also monitor social media handles as well as personal information, such as Social Security numbers, email addresses, insurance cards and passports.

Increased openness

Survey results suggest consumers are open to discussions of cyber coverage; 3 in 4 said they would be interested in investing in resources or products affiliated with identity recovery and computer attacks, and 67% said they are interested in products related to compromised login credentials and data breaches.

Respondents also indicated that the increased reliance on technology and data (55%) and digital payment methods (52%) since the pandemic have made them more likely to consider purchasing cyber insurance. Forty-five percent said news coverage of recent cyberattacks was also a key factor when considering purchasing cyber coverage.

If they need it, consumers overwhelmingly trust that cyber insurance would meet their needs: 86% believe cyber coverage would protect them in the event of a cyberattack, compared to 49% who believe non-cyber coverage would reimburse their losses.

The Nationwide solution

Our dedicated cyber risk specialists are available to assist clients with concerns or questions about cyberattacks and data security. Services include phone support to answer questions on best practices, review attempts of device compromises—such as spam emails—and suggestions on prevention. We also provide educational articles on security topics such as home networks, email, online browsing, unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot usage, and best backup and restore practices.

Nationwide’s online data protection software is designed to provide peace of mind when browsing the internet. This product includes:

  • Anti-ransomware—This monitors attempts at encryption activity and protects emails, photographs, spreadsheets and other files from being encrypted and held for ransom.
  • DataScrambler®—This feature protects clients from spyware that attempts to steal confidential information, log keystrokes, and access computers’ built-in webcams.
  • PhishBlock®—This tool detects malicious websites designed to steal information by using proactive and customized anti-phishing technology.
  • Home internet security restoration—This provides specialist services to restore internet connection and internet-connected devices and resecure home networking infrastructure.
  • Data recovery and device clean-up assistance—This feature includes malware, ransomware or virus removal from computers and other internet-connected devices via remote access.



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