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As online shopping grows, many consumers fear credit information will be stolen

2 minute read

Most of us will do some holiday shopping online. And half of us are scared of sites getting hacked this season.

Web security company Netsparker  says the vast majority of Americans — 85 percent — are looking forward to online shopping this holiday season.

Online shopping while worried about ID theft

But nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of Americans are concerned about identity theft during their holiday shopping, according to a study from digital protection developer Generali Global Assistance (GGA).

Online shopping is only going up, and with that, 51 percent of shoppers are worried about data breaches from online merchants far more than other risks.

To make matters worse, retailer websites are requesting and keeping our credit card information. About one-third of Americans are letting websites save their banking information — instead of opting to type it in every time they make a purchase. Convenience and laziness seem a bit more important to consumers than safety.

Are consumers or companies to blame for holiday ID theft

However, Americans feel companies aren’t doing their best to protect our data either. Down five percent from 2017, 33 percent of Americans feel businesses are slacking on their cybersecurity. And if a company has had a data breach in the past, 83 percent feel unsafe making a purchase with them in store or online.

If we don’t know the (lack of) security that companies offer their shoppers, we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to scams and hacks. Ferruh Mavituna, the CEO of Netsparker, says it’s up to both shoppers and companies to be safe.

“Retailers must make protecting their customers’ information a priority around the holidays—and year-round,” Mavituna says. “Consumers need to feel that their information is protected by the companies they do business with; investing in security scanning is an excellent way to show your customers that you care about keeping them safe.”

When it comes to types of scams, most people fear they would get their identity stolen while shopping for gifts online. But 20 percent believed they would be vulnerable because of in-store point-of-sale systems, 15 percent feared they would be robbed or pickpocketed, and 10 percent thought their car might be broken into, according to GGA. Regardless of how we shop, we are scared of getting our stuff stolen.

Companies need to prioritize security, and consumers want safe online shopping. Netsparker says more than two-thirds of shoppers would make it a priority to visit a website that they knew it safe.

We’ve been getting hacked at record speeds this year. If your information hasn’t been stolen let, you probably know someone who has been. Unfortunately, cyber attacks are going to continue to rise until companies of all kinds take data breaches seriously. As individuals, though, we also need to take into account that breaches can happen because we don’t take our own data seriously enough and we’re lazy.

It’s a group effort from all of us, but companies know they are more at risk for fraud. Sadly, they don’t have the plans in place to tackle hacks or even hire competent staff to prevent scams from hacking.

Cameren Boatner contributed to this story.

Updated on: June 24th, 2019

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About the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn is a full-time freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She’s president of Blossomers Media, Inc., a web development and online media consulting company. Along with her work on debt.com, she’s been a longtime freelancer for Money Talks News — a personal and consumer finance website — and South Florida Gay News — the largest weekly LGBT newspaper in the South. Zinn has written for a variety of other publications, including Huffington Post, The Week, Quartz, Fort Lauderdale Magazine, Indulge, and realtor.com.

Published by Debt.com, LLC Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Holiday Cheers and Fears: Shop More, Get Hacked - AMP.