Hong Kongers worry about identify theft

68% of Hong Kong natives are 'worried' or 'very worried' about identify theft, according to an online survey of 500 adults conducted by Zogby Analytics and commissioned by TransUnion.

43% of respondents are aware of the potential dangers of personal information being stolen via social media.

86% reveal sensitive personal information in social media despite their awareness about identity theft. 70% of Hongkongers disclosed e-mail addresses, 49% dates of birth, 41% real names, 29% phone numbers, and 17% addresses on social media.

More than 54% of Hong Kongers said they are concerned that someone would steal their credit card information. 43% were concerned that their personal information would be stolen from their social media accounts.

"The survey shows that Hongkongers are concerned about safeguarding their personal information, but they do not realize how easy it is for criminals to obtain identifying data," said Angus Choi, managing director of TransUnion Hong Kong.

Tips to protect identities

TransUnion advises Hong Kong natives to be careful when giving out personal information as identity thieves often pose as acquaintances, banks or government agencies.

People should shred sensitive information before throwing it away and ensure that they receive credit card bill every month as identity thieves can change their billing address.

It is easy to alert creditors if people keep a list of account numbers, expiration dates and telephone numbers.

Spend time on creating unique passwords or PIN numbers so that it is difficult for identity thieves to crack these codes.

"Learning how to better protect yourself from identity theft can make your identity more secure. The more people who know how to better protect themselves from identity theft, the less inclined others may be to commit the crime," added Choi.