Most Americans don’t feel safe online: their insecurity isn’t unfounded

70% of Americans have experienced scam attempts online and believe companies handling their personal information should be more regulated.

A recent online survey of 2,310 Americans by data privacy agent Incogni, powered by Surfshark, showed that users don’t feel safe when surfing the net. 90% of respondents said they had received spam emails, robocalls, and scam attempts in the past and even experienced personal data breaches.

The survey also showed that Americans want tech companies to be more regulated, and only one-third of users know what laws protect their privacy.

The feeling of insecurity isn’t unfounded, Incogni concluded. Surfshark data breach statistics show that data breach rates have increased this year. In Q1, 450 accounts were being breached every minute. In Q2, breach rates are 2% higher, with 459 accounts being leaked every 60 seconds.

“This feeling of insecurity has been exacerbated by data breaches, such as the Equifax breach that compromised the identity of almost 146 million Americans or the famous Cambridge Analytica case. Meta Platforms has been fined 17 million euros ($18.6 million) for violating the European Union’s privacy regulations by failing to prevent data breaches on its Facebook platform,” Incogni said in a press release.

Only five states in the US have comprehensive local regulations, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act. Over 70% of respondents believe that companies handling their data should be regulated more.

According to Incogni, knowing how companies handle your data might significantly reduce the risk of scams, identity theft, online harassment, and stalking.

“Data privacy is becoming an increasingly alarming issue, yet many people are still unaware of the hidden market that data brokers operate in. However, based on recent studies, the actual process of taking back data has been shown to be extremely tedious. It requires legal knowledge and lots of persistence,” said Darius Belejevas, head of Incogni.

Americans have two options to have their data deleted. They can either individually reach out to data brokers or companies that store their data or use the services of privacy agencies that automatically find and remove their data from the internet on their behalf.

However, the survey showed that 62% of respondents have never asked any company to remove their private information.