Press Release
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For Immediate Release
Press Contact:
Irene Oujo (201) 996-1154


Conducted by Privacy & American Business and Deloitte & Touche LLP

June 29, 2005 //Hackensack, NJ:Twenty percent of people responding to a new Privacy & American Business (P&AB) and Deloitte & Touche LLP survey report that they have personally been a victim of identity fraud or theft. The survey sample was selected to be representative of the total U.S. population, according to the 2004 U.S. Census. If the data is projected, the results would suggest that 44 million American adults have ever been a victim of identity fraud or theft an increase of eleven million victims since 2003 (P&ABs 2003 ID Theft Survey and Trend Report).

"Our survey shows that there does not seem to be a plateau as yet in the instances of identity theft, despite major attempts by business and government to stem the tide," said Alan Westin, Columbia University Professor Emeritus and President & Publisher, P&AB.

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, also found that 64 percent of respondents have decided not to purchase something from a company because they werent sure how their personal information would be used. Sixty-seven percent of respondents have decided not to register at a website or shop online because they found the privacy policy too complicated or unclear. If the data is projected to reflect the U.S. population, then more than 140 million U.S. adults have decided not to purchase something from a company and some 109 million online adult consumers say they have decided not to register at a website or shop online.

The survey also found that there is remarkably high awareness across all demographic categories of recently reported consumer or employee personal data breaches. Eighty-seven percent of respondents said they have read or heard about personal consumer data being stolen or disclosed in error by a company, university or government agency.

"There is a significant portion of the population that is becoming increasingly concerned about identity theft, and it is influencing their purchasing decisions" said Rena Mears, partner and leader of the privacy services group of Deloitte & Touche. "Companies need to understand this and leverage the internal control improvements they have made as a result of Sarbanes-Oxley to increase the integrity and security around the personal information they hold for their customers."

Other survey findings included:

A surprising finding in the survey is that even though the number of identity theft victims has increased and a large majority of Americans are aware of data leakages, the basic division of Americans privacy attitudes remains virtually unchanged:

A full survey report will be made available in July at and featured in the June issue of P&AB. For more information, contact Irene Oujo at (201) 996-1154 or

Survey Methodology

Harris Interactive conducted this online survey within the United States on behalf of Privacy & American Business and Deloitte between May 4 and 10, 2005 among a nationwide cross section of 2,322 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used where appropriate to adjust for respondents propensity to be online. Though this online sample is not a probability sample, in theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Sampling error for sub-samples of African Americans (131), Whites (1,989), Hispanics (123), those with disabilities (490) and those aged 30-39 (446) is higher and varies.

About Privacy & American Business
Privacy & American Business (,, &, is an activity of the Center for Social & Legal Research, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy think tank exploring U.S. and global issues of consumer and employee privacy and data protection for business since its launch in 1993.

Always on the cutting edge, P&AB was the first to chart and analyze the rise of privacy from a second-tier concern to a front-burner issue and to provide opportunities in its programs and meetings to assist businesses in understanding the privacy environment as it is evolving. P&AB, a pioneer in recognizing the rise of the Corporate Privacy Officer (CPO), was the first to open its CPO Program in 1999.

The Center and all its activities are led by Dr. Alan Westin, Professor of Public Law & Government Emeritus, Columbia University, and President and Publisher of P&AB; Robert Belair, Partner at Oldaker, Biden & Belair and P&AB’s Vice President; and Lorrie Sherwood, P&AB’s Executive Director.

About Deloitte

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, a Swiss Verein, its member firms and their respective subsidiaries and affiliates. As a Swiss Verein (association), neither Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu nor any of its member firms has any liability for each others acts or omissions. Each of the member firms is a separate and independent legal entity operating under the names "Deloitte", "Deloitte & Touche", "Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu" or other related names. Services are provided by the member firms or their subsidiaries or affiliates and not by the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Verein.

Deloitte & Touche USA LLP is the US member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. In the US, services are provided by the subsidiaries of Deloitte & Touche USA LLP (Deloitte & Touche LLP, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, Deloitte Tax LLP and their subsidiaries), and not by Deloitte & Touche USA LLP.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive Inc. (, the 15th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world, is a Rochester, NY-based global research company that blends premier strategic consulting with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis and application. Known for The Harris Poll® and for pioneering Internet-based research methods, Harris Interactive conducts proprietary and public research to help its clients achieve clear, material and enduring results.

Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital, databases and technology to advance market leadership through its U.S. offices and wholly owned subsidiaries, HI Europe in London (, Novatris in Paris (, and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE M/F/D/V.