Postal Service Honored as Most-Trusted Government Agency
For the third year in a row, Americans have rated the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) as the number-one agency they trust to protect their privacy. Not only did the USPS retain the top spot, customer satisfaction and trust scores increased from the previous year, a national study shows.
Ponemon Institute, L.L.C. published its 2007 Privacy Trust Study of the United States Government during National Consumer Protection Week. The study seeks to understand the level of confidence Americans have in the many government agencies that routinely collect and use the public’s personal information.
The USPS 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.
The announcement comes during National Consumer Protection Week, a federal program hosted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to draw attention to issues and ideas to help create more informed and cautious consumers. The USPS and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are partnering at hundreds of events across the country to educate consumers about fraudulent schemes and to provide them with the tools and information needed to combat fraud.
Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of Ponemon Institute, says 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 Web sites and access to personal information, in ranking federal agencies. More than 7,000 adults were surveyed.
The Privacy Trust Study findings also conclude 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 USPS 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.
An independent federal agency, the USPS is the only delivery service that visits every address in the nation–146 million homes and businesses–six days a week. It receives no taxpayer dollars for routine operations, but depends only on the sale of postage, products and services to pay for operating expenses. With annual revenues of $72 billion, it is the world’s leading provider of mailing and delivery services. The USPS delivers more than 46 percent of the world’s mail–some 213 billion letters, advertisements, periodicals and packages a year–and serves 10 million customers each day at its 37,000 retail locations nationwide.
Ponemon Institute, L.L.C. is dedicated to independent research and education that advances responsible information and privacy management practices within business and government.