Money & The Economy

Nearly Three-Quarters of Americans Concerned About Identity Theft During Holiday Shopping Season

The vast majority of Americans (71%) are concerned that their financial and personal information could be compromised due to data breaches while shopping during this holiday season, according to an consumer survey conducted by Generali Global Assistance (“GGA” or “the Company”), a developer of a proprietary and innovative identity and digital protection platform, and leader in the assistance industry as part of the multinational Generali Group. Currently in its second year, the survey identifies holiday shopping trends and consumer sentiment on the risks holiday shopping poses to identity theft.

The survey found that 91 percent of Americans plan to shop during the holiday season, with the top three shopping options being: brick-and-mortar (65%), online via a laptop / desktop computer (59%), and mobile devices (36%). Whether they are at brick-and-mortar or online stores, 64 percent of holiday shoppers plan to shop at 2-5 stores, with another 23 percent saying they will shop at 6-10 stores.

Regardless of the preferred shopping method, 33 percent of consumers say businesses are not doing all they can to protect their personal information, and 33 percent say they are unsure if businesses are doing enough, a decrease of seven and five percent respectively from 2017. Moreover, if a retailer experienced a data breach in the past, 83 percent of shoppers feel concerned making an online or in-store purchase at that retailer.

Paige Schaffer, President and COO of Generali Global Assistance’s Identity and Digital Protection Services Global Unit, commented on today’s news, “With 2017 recording an all-time high of over 1,500 data breaches, consumers are more aware of the threats associated with holiday shopping and the need for businesses to better protect their data. Though consumers are less confident in a business’s ability to protect their data, offering identity protection establishes trust and sends a clear message that they take the burden and privilege of protecting data seriously.”

When it comes to identity theft, data breaches from online merchants (51%) far outweighed other risks on shoppers’ minds. Twenty percent believed brick-and-mortar point-of-sale systems cause a threat to identity theft, while 15 percent feared their identity theft could result from being pickpocketed or robbed. Ten percent feared it would result from having their car broken into.

To ease consumer anxiety, the survey found that 55 percent of Americans would feel more confident if a business is actively working to protect their data and reduce risk if they offered identity protection services. Likewise, retail businesses that either offer identity protection services or that plan to do so in the future instill greater confidence in 68 percent of Americans, a 12 percent increase from 2017.

As concerns over data breaches grow, the most popular form of payment for holiday purchases this year will be cash (56%). Debit (52%) and credit cards (45%) were a close second and third. In 2017, the most popular form of payment for holiday purchases was through a credit card (57%).

Schaffer concluded, “For many, the holiday season is stressful enough without having to worry that one’s identity will be stolen. Safeguarding your customers’ identities and financial well-being through identity protection services is one way to demonstrate that, as a business, you understand your customer’s needs.”

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Carl Fox

Carl Fox is the senior money and finance writer for Conservative Daily News. Follow him in the "Money & The Economy" section at CDN and see his posts on the "Junior Economists" Facebook page.

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