Study: 70% of Consumers Say Companies Know Too Much

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A survey released yesterday by print-to-fulfillment firm RR Donnelley Financial's direct marketing group confirms that consumers are increasingly concerned about their privacy.

An estimated 70 percent of the 10,000 consumers polled via Chicago-based Donnelley's FinSight online consumer panel say companies have too much personal information.

Furthermore, 76.4 percent feel their privacy has been compromised if a company uses the collected personal information to sell them products.

Panel respondents were evenly split when asked if they appreciated companies recommending new products and services based on what they know about the consumers.

However, dangling a carrot works. Consumers are willing to relinquish personal information if the company offers a personalized product or service in return, according to the survey conducted earlier this year.

Privacy seekers revealed certain characteristics, according to panel findings.

For example, consumers early into their financial life between ages 18 and 24 were far less likely to be concerned about privacy than those over 65 years -- 65.2 percent versus 84.4 percent.

Also, women appear slightly more concerned about privacy than men -- 71.1 percent versus 68.8 percent.

Divided along racial lines, Caucasians appear slightly more concerned about privacy than minorities -- 70.2 percent vs. 69.1 percent for Asians, 68.7 percent for Hispanics and 66.3 percent for African Americans.

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