March 18, 2005

Identity theft, or more likely, the constant barrage of identity theft stories in the media, are eroding some consumers' confidence in their banks, a research firm said Friday.

Nearly 60 percent of U.S. consumers polled in January said they were worried about identity theft, said Sophie Louvel, a research analyst at Financial Insights. More surprising, about 6 percent admitted that they've switched banks in an attempt to reduce their risk of being the next victim.

"Identity theft incidents have been taking their toll on banks and their customer relationships," said Louvel in a statement.

Recent high-profile reports of data theft at ChoicePoint, LexisNexis, and Bank of America, among others, have been in the news of late.

"[That] may drive bank customers to worry further about the possibility of experiencing identity theft," added Louvel. "However, the survey results show that not all consumers worry equally about identity theft."

According to Financial Insights' data, Americans in the 44-64 age group worry most about identity theft.