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Survey Finds One in Three Consumers Don’t Trust the Government to Protect Them From Online Fraud and Abuse

Posted October 19, 2011

The Joint Study by ThreatMetrix and The Ponemon Institute Reveals Consumers Trust the Federal Government Least, Local and Municipal Government Most

LOS ALTOS, CA – October 19, 2011 – ThreatMetrix™, the fastest growing provider of cloud-based fraud prevention solutions that do not require personally identifiable information (PII), today announced results of a joint study with The Ponemon Institute, “Mobile Payments & Online Shopping Survey of U.S. Consumers.” The survey, which looked at U.S. consumers who self-reported they are active users of the Internet, revealed 34% do not trust any government entity to protect them from fraud and abuse – specifically when conducting government-related online or mobile payments.

While the majority of consumers do not trust any government entity, 31% reported trusting the municipal and local government the most for online fraud prevention measures. Twenty-six percent said they trust the state government most; with only 9% of participants most confident in the federal government.

However, when consumers were asked which government entity they trust the most if it came to cyber warfare (such as a cyber-attack that damages the electric power grid or infects the water supply), consumer sentiments changed slightly. While the majority of survey participants also reported not trusting any aspect of the government (34%), they placed more confidence in federal or state government over municipal or local entities.

Where consumers place their trust when it comes to protecting them against cyber warfare:

• 29% trust federal or state government most

• 8% trust municipal and local government most

• 34% do not trust any government entity

Consumers were also asked if they would ever make a mobile payment from a smartphone or tablet to remunerate fees to a government entity – like income tax payment to the IRS, excise fees to their state DMV, local real estate taxes, and so forth. Only 11% of survey respondents confirmed that they have made a mobile payment to the government, with 37% indicating they would never make a government payment from a mobile device. Ten-percent expressed that they are “unsure.”

“These findings confirm that government-related mobile payments have yet to be widely adopted,” said Bert Rankin, vice president of marketing, ThreatMetrix. “Sixty-three percent of survey respondents indicated they feel more comfortable making a traditional payment like a personal check, with a majority indicating a preference for written proof of payment. Only when the government adopts more policies around fraud prevention tactics will consumers start to feel comfortable making mobile payments. ”

Rankin added that government agencies are regularly combating fraud and preventing improper payments, but still have a long way to go. Rigid guidelines for fraud prevention in this sector have yet to be enforced, such as what is outlined by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) for financial institutions. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget estimates more than $125 billion was lost in improper government payments in 2010 alone, a year-over-year increase of $15 billion.

President Obama recently went so far as to declare October 2011 as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in honor of the importance of fraud and online security education.

For a complimentary whitepaper of the “Mobile Payments & Online Shopping Survey of U.S. Consumers,” download it here.

About Ponemon Institute

The Ponemon Institute© is dedicated to advancing responsible information and privacy management practices in business and government. To achieve this objective, the Institute conducts independent research, educates leaders from the private and public sectors and verifies the privacy and data protection practices of organizations in a variety of industries. For more information, visit

About ThreatMetrix

ThreatMetrix®, The Digital Identity Company®, is the market-leading cloud solution for authenticating digital personas and transactions on the Internet. Verifying more than 20 billion annual transactions supporting 30,000 websites and 4,000 customers globally through the ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network®, ThreatMetrix secures businesses and end users against account takeover, payment fraud and fraudulent account registrations resulting from malware and data breaches. Key benefits include an improved customer experience, reduced friction, revenue gain and lower fraud and operational costs. The ThreatMetrix solution is deployed across a variety of industries, including financial services, e-commerce, payments and lending, media, government and insurance.

For more information, visit or call 1-408-200-5755. Join the cybersecurity conversation by visiting the ThreatMetrix blog, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook pages.

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Media Contact:

Jaci Robbins
Tel: 408-200-5718

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