Half of all U.S. adults didn't check either their credit score or their credit report in the last six months, according to a new CreditCards.com report. The timing is significant because it coincides with the massive Equifax data breach, first reported in early September 2017, which exposed the personal information of more than 145 million consumers.
CreditCards.com’s senior industry analyst, Matt Schulz said nearly 3 in 10 who have heard “a lot” about the breach still didn’t bother to check their credit in the past six months.
“Frankly, that’s disturbing,” he said. “If this breach won’t get people to act, what will?”
It's a boom or bust story for millennials (18-37 years old): 26% have heard nothing at all about the Equifax breach (versus 13 percent of adults 38 years of age and older), yet 34% of millennials checked both their credit score and report in the last six months (more than any other generation).
50 percent --Haven’t Checked Credit since Equifax Breach
18 percent -- Have Never Checked Credit Report or Score
Breaking it down further, 45% of older millennials (31-37 year-olds) checked both. No other age segment topped 35%.
Even though half the adult population has not checked their credit since the Equifax hack came to light, a much higher percentage claims to be concerned about their data. 73% say they are either “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the breach and just 8% are “not at all” worried.
Schulz said identity theft is a forever problem.
“Once your information is out there, there’s no way to put that toothpaste back in the tube. And, people need to adjust their financial routines going forward to take time to do identity theft checks,” said Schulz. “There is definitely some data breach fatigue that’s going on, where we hear about it so often, they get desensitized.”
Also, 74% responded that having their personal data stolen would be worse than having their cell phone stolen.
“Data security is a big deal. It’s not the most fun thing to talk about at the dinner table or at the water cooler, but these discussions need to be had because this problem affects virtually every American and isn’t going to go away,” Schulz concludes.
He said you need to check your credit score regularly, and that doing so doesn't impact it negatively. For most people, it's just not a priority.
You can get your free VantageScore credit score and free TransUnion credit report here.