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HSB Consumer Survey Shows Cyber Crimes Rising


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    • In a growing trend, almost a quarter of consumers report identity thefts
    • A third of consumers experienced a virus or other computer attack
    • Online fraud increased from similar surveys in 2018 and 2016
    • Victims of ransomware more likely to pay criminals to unlock their data

    Cyber Criminals Have More Ways to Target Individuals

    U.S. consumers are worried about their data security, and with good reason. A survey released today by HSB, part of Munich Re, shows a continuing increase in identity theft, cyber-attacks and online fraud as criminals steal personal information and millions of dollars.

    “Americans are more connected than ever, linking all types of devices and systems to the internet,” said Timothy Zeilman, vice president for HSB, a provider of cyber insurance and services. “That gives criminals new opportunities to target individuals at home and on public Wi-Fi networks.”

    The HSB survey conducted by Zogby Analytics found that 77 percent of consumers were very or somewhat concerned about online identity theft. Almost as many were concerned they could be hacked or have their personal data stolen while shopping on a public Wi-Fi connection.

    Those fears were reflected in the nationwide survey results.

    Cyber Attacks, Ransomware, Scams and Schemes

    The number of consumers who said their identities were stolen increased to 23 percent, up five percent over similar HSB surveys in 2018 and 2016. Victims spent an average of 27 hours to monitor their credit and correct personal information.

    One-third of consumers (34 percent) said they had experienced a cyber-attack. A computer virus or other malware was the most typical damage (72 percent) and 59 percent of consumers spent more than $500 to respond.

    Almost a quarter of consumers (23 percent) had their email or social media accounts interfered with, taken over, or used by an unauthorized person, continuing a slowly rising trend.

    Although ransomware attacks were steady (11 percent), victims were more likely to pay criminals to unlock their data or keep it private. About half said they paid the ransom, in most cases $2,000 or less, compared with about one-third in the earlier surveys.

    Online consumer fraud nearly doubled from previous HSB surveys to 16 percent of individuals, who said most of the crimes were committed through payment services (48 percent), online auctions (21 percent) and dating websites (20 percent).

    More than half of fraud victims lost over $500 and a third lost over $1,000.

    Note for the editorial staff

    For further questions please contact
    Dennis Milewski
    Dennis Milewski
    Media Relations, HSB


    Survey Methodology - Zogby Analytics was commissioned by HSB to conduct a survey of 1,515 adults across the United States and reported the results in January 2020. Based on a confidence level of 95 percent, the margin for error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. That means all other things being equal, the identical survey would have results within the margin of error 95 times out of 100.

    HSB, part of Munich Re, is a multi-line specialty insurer and provider of inspection, risk management and IoT technology services. HSB insurance offerings include equipment breakdown, cyber risk, specialty liability and other coverages. HSB blends its engineering expertise, technology and data to craft inventive insurance and service solutions for existing and emerging risks posed by technological change. Throughout its 150-year history HSB’s mission has been to help clients prevent loss, advance sustainable use of energy and build deeper relationships that benefit business, public institutions and consumers. HSB holds A.M. Best Company’s highest financial rating, A++ (Superior). Connect with HSB on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook.

    Munich Re is one of the world’s leading providers of reinsurance, primary insurance and insurance-related risk solutions. The group consists of the reinsurance and ERGO business segments, as well as the capital investment company MEAG. Munich Re is globally active and operates in all lines of the insurance business. Since it was founded in 1880, Munich Re has been known for its unrivalled risk-related expertise and its sound financial position. It offers customers financial protection when faced with exceptional levels of damage – from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake through to the 2019 Pacific typhoon season. Munich Re possesses outstanding innovative strength, which enables it to also provide coverage for extraordinary risks such as rocket launches, renewable energies, cyberattacks, or pandemics. The company is playing a key role in driving forward the digital transformation of the insurance industry, and in doing so has further expanded its ability to assess risks and the range of services that it offers. Its tailor-made solutions and close proximity to its customers make Munich Re one of the world’s most sought-after risk partners for businesses, institutions, and private individuals.

    Zogby Analytics is an international research firm, providing clients with information and knowledge critical for making informed strategic decisions since 1984. The firm conducts multi-phased opinion research with state-of-the-art opinion research capabilities and objective analysis and consultation for banking and financial services institutions, insurance companies, hospitals and medical centers, retailers and developers, religious institutions, cultural organizations, colleges and universities, IT companies and federal agencies.

    Hartford, Connecticut, July 29, 2020

    The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company
    One State Street
    P.O. Box 5024
    Hartford, Connecticut 06102-5024
    United States