IDology Study Examines the State of Privacy, Trust, and Consumer Digital Identity

Earlier this week we shared our conversation with IDology CEO Christina Luttrell on the challenges and opportunities in the digital identity verification space. This fall, IDology was honored at the 2021 Finovate Awards, winning recognition as “Best Identity Management Solution.”

A few weeks later, IDology released its 4th Annual Consumer Digital Identity Study. Surveying nearly 1,500 U.S. consumers over the summer of 2021, the study sought insight into what it called “the insecure, COVID-weary consumer.” How have preferences shifted in the balance between security and privacy on the one hand, and the willingness to share their personal information in order to access services that in many instances became especially valuable during the pandemic on the other? How have expectations grown as consumers’ reliance on new digitally delivered services has increased? And what steps can companies take in order to gain and keep valuable trust relationships with their customers?

These are just a handful of the questions addressed in IDology’s latest “heat check” on consumers and digital identity.

Finovate: IDology just published its 4th Consumer Study. What is the goal of this report and what can you tell us about your findings? 

Christina Luttrell: This marks our fourth year publishing the Consumer Digital Identity Study to help businesses understand important shifts in consumer perceptions and preferences about fraud and identity verification. This year’s study showed us that, more and more, consumer trust hinges on the ability of businesses to safeguard identities and keep consumer data private, particularly during online account opening and onboarding.

Needless to say, consumers today have experienced seismic shifts in how they live and work, becoming increasingly reliant on all things digital. When we conducted this survey, the COVID-19 pandemic was entering its 16th month and the Delta variant accounted for the lion’s share of new infections. The results of our survey show a weariness that only a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic can create and, with the emergence of variants such as Omicron, the potential for more uncertainty.

Customer fatigue has undoubtedly impacted consumer practices and preferences relative to the security of their identities, particularly their willingness to hand over personal information. We also observed a growing need for trust-based online relationships, which was evident in the level of protection consumers expect companies to put in place to safeguard their data and ensure privacy.

This report pays close attention to how consumers view the threat of fraud and the never-ending waves of cyber breaches. We also spotlight consumer expectations regarding privacy, why they do not trust businesses to be good stewards of their data, and what can be done to foster trust, especially during the online account opening and onboarding experiences.

From our vantage point, this survey shows that the intersection of fraud, trust, privacy, compliance, and new customer engagement continues to grow in its significance. Consequently, excelling in today’s environment requires embedding identity verification at the center of every digital interaction.

The full study can be downloaded from our website, but a few of the trends we uncovered are:

  • The safety and security of the mobile channel are of critical importance to consumers and companies alike. Twenty-four percent of consumers report that their mobile devices have been compromised since the pandemic began. Consumer concern about smartphone malware attacks has increased 34% year-over-year, and nearly half believe their mobile device is more vulnerable than their personal computer.
  • Consumers expect more identity fraud. Ninety-six million Americans expect the number of fraud attempts involving their identity or accounts they own to increase over the next 12 months. Amid the rise in unauthorized account openings, 61% are concerned their personal information will be used by criminals to open a new financial account. At the same time, many Americans appear ill-prepared to protect their data. Only 45% believe they have the wherewithal to defend themselves against cyber-attacks and fraud.
  • Trust in companies to responsibly use consumer data is on the decline. Seventy percent suspect that companies gather data without their permission, and 59% don’t think companies do enough to safeguard the Personal Identifiable Information (PII) they possess. This raises significant worries for consumers, with 53% very or extremely concerned with the practice, which explains why 90% support legislation similar to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in their states or at the federal level.

A well-respected industry thought leader, Christina Luttrell was recognized in 2018 by One World Identity as a top 100 influencer in identity verification. She has been named one of the leading women in security by Security Magazine and in 2019 was selected as one of Atlanta’s “Women Who Mean Business” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. In 2021 she was recognized by Global InfoSec Awards as a top “Woman in Cybersecurity.” Under Luttrell’s leadership, IDology has experienced dramatic growth.

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels