For the third year in a row, Americans have rated the U.S. Postal Service as the number one agency they trust to protect their privacy. Not only did the Postal Service retain the top spot, customer satisfaction and trust scores increased from the previous year, a national study shows.
Ponemon Institute LLC published its "2007 Privacy Trust Study of the United States Government" during National Consumer Protection Week. The study sought to understand the level of confidence Americans have in the many government agencies that routinely collect and use the public's personal information.
The Postal Service retained the top spot with a privacy trust score of 83 percent. It also is one of the few federal agencies able to increase its customer satisfaction and trust scores. The average trust score among the 60 agencies surveyed was 47 percent.
Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of Ponemon Institute, said increased public awareness of fraud and sharing or compromising personal information is a key consumer issue. The Privacy Trust Study identified 10 factors, ranging from a sense of security when providing personal information to secure Websites and access to personal information, in ranking federal agencies. More than 7,000 adults were surveyed.
"As the Internet secures its place as a central force in many American households, the concern and interest in protecting information that is being shared is increasing rapidly," Ponemon said. "It doesn't matter if a consumer is logging on to buy a book, applying for a credit card, or updating a driver's license or home address."
The Privacy Trust Study findings also concluded that Americans remain concerned over a "loss of civil liberties and privacy rights," "surveillance into personal life," and "monitoring e-mail and Web activities."
One of the most pressing issues for consumers is identity theft. The Postal Service and the Postal Inspection Service provide a number of tips, especially when shopping online:
* Be cautious about giving out personal information. Be certain that the organization or company is legitimate.
* Don't disclose personal information, especially a Social Security number or home address.
* Teach children to check with parents or an adult before completing any form or survey online.
* Never share a password to anyone online. Never use a full name, telephone number, birth date or Social Security number as part of a password.
* Use a secure browser that complies with industry standards or technology such as encryption.
At the Lewisburg Post Office, we work very hard to earn your trust each day. We take this trust very seriously, and every employee is dedicated to keeping you happy. It is just another example of how the Lewisburg Post Office is working for you.
Robert Wakefield is the Acting Postmaster for the Lewisburg Post Office. He can be reached at 359-3232.