Survey Reveals 8 in 10 Americans Worry That Artificial Intelligence Tech Will Be Used For Identity Theft Crimes

November 21, 2023

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) has captured the world’s attention but also has introduced new risks and concerns that were not on people’s radars even a year ago. Today more than 8 in 10 (82%) are concerned about the use of AI by criminals to steal someone’s identity, that’s according to a group of general consumer respondents of the latest Agency Forward survey conducted by Nationwide.

  • 6 in 10 consumers are concerned about potential cyberattacks

Top Reasons for Concern: a perceived increase in recent cyberattacks (55%), use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology (54%), and proficiency of today’s hackers (51%)

The Big Picture: Cyber threats are still top of mind for consumers, only a third (34%) of consumers feel prepared to prevent a cyberattack, and only 41% are confident in their ability to recover from a cyberattack.

  • Nearly half (45%) would hire or outsource someone to lead the recovery process if they were to fall victim to an attack, this is up +5 points from 2022 findings

Why It Matters2022 had the second-highest number of data compromises in the U.S. in a single year with at least 422 million individuals impacted.

Common Cyberattacks

Cybercrime Familiarity: Respondents reported being most familiar with: 46% phishing, 45% malware, 44% cyber bullying; and respondents said they were not at all knowledgeable about: 54% digital unemployment fraud, 53% DoS (denial of service) attacks, 51% deepfakes, 48% digital tax fraud.

By the Numbers:

  • 10% reported having been a victim of an attack, down -10 points from 2022 findings
  • Most common attacks reported are: 40% password attacks, 34% malware, 30% data breaches
  • Only 53% knew what to do when they identified the attack
  • Half (51%) reported an impact on their personal finances
  • Measure taken included: 58% changing passwords, 40% updated cybersecurity software, 31% purchased ID theft protection

Most consumers who monitor their personal information or accounts do so themselves rather than using an external service—the accounts most likely to be self-monitored: 47% financial accounts, 42% emails, 39% social security—all up from 2022 findings (+13 points, +10 points, +8 points respectively).

Interest is Increasing but Lack of Knowledge Holds Consumers Back From Purchasing Cyber Insurance

  • 15% of consumers report currently owning cyber insurance, down 1 point from 2022 findings.

Barriers for not having it: 40% lack of knowledge, 36% lack of awareness of availability, 29% perceived costs.

Consider This: According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, in 2022 there was a 5% decrease in total number of complaints reported, but dollar losses increased by 49%.

The Bottom Line: Many consumers say the increased reliance on technology (47%), development of AI technology (47%), news about cyberattacks (47%), increased use of digital payments (46%) has made them more likely to purchase cyber insurance or expand their current coverage.

  • 3 in 4 consumers are interested in investing in resources or products affiliated with identity recovery and financial account monitoring:
    • 75% are interested in identity recovery—pays for the costs of recovering from an identity theft as well as a full-service ID theft restoration services
    • 74% are interested in payment accounts and financial accounts monitoring and activity alerts
    • 72% are interested in computer attack protection—removes malware and reprograms computers and tables, Wi-Fi routers, or other internet access points

Key Takeaway: Having cyber insurance can dramatically shrink the cost and time it takes to recover from a cyber issue. Nationwide offers ID theft coverage for $45 a year (that is less than $4 a month) and includes cyber protection services, an identity protection portal and resolution services features—this can be added to any home or auto policy. Consumers can check with their agent to see what’s available to them and identify vulnerabilities.