Seven from ten Americans worried about holiday shopping identity theft

Almost all US shoppers plan to shop during the holiday season but many are worried about their data being compromised according to a new survey
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Although pundits predict that online shopping is stealing a march on in-store buying, and use technology to spend more of their cash, cyber security fears still abound.

According to a new survey by Bethesda, MD-based identity and digital protection solutions Generali Global Assistance, seven out of ten Americans (71 percent) are concerned that their financial and personal information could be compromised due to data breaches while shopping during this holiday season.

The company surveyed 1,004 US adults in November 2018. It wanted to identify holiday shopping trends and consumer sentiment on the risks holiday shopping poses to identity theft.

The survey found that over nine out of ten (91 percent) of Americans plan to shop during the holiday season.

The top three shopping options were brick-and-mortar, chosen by two out of three respondents (65 percent), online via a laptop or desktop computer (59 percent), and mobile devices, used by one out of three respondents (36 percent).

Whether they shop in brick-and-mortar, or online stores, 64 percent of holiday shoppers say they plan to shop at 2-5 stores, with another 23 percent saying they will shop at 6-10 stores this year.

Whatever the preferred shopping method seems to be, one-third (33 percent) of respondents say that businesses are not doing all they can to protect their personal information. Furthermore 33 percent said that they are unsure if businesses are doing enough.

If a retailer experienced a data breach in the past, over four out of five (83 percent) of shoppers said that they feel concerned making an online or in-store purchase at that retailer.

As concerns over data breaches grow, the most popular form of payment for holiday purchases this year will be cash with 56 percent of respondents paying in this way. Debit cards will be used by 52 percent, and credit cards by 45 percent of respondents.

When it comes to identity theft, data breaches from online merchants far outweighed other risks on shoppers' minds with over half (51 percent) saying it was an issue.

Twenty percent believe that brick-and-mortar point-of-sale systems cause a threat to identity theft, while 15 percent fear their identity theft could result from being pickpocketed or robbed. Ten percent feared it would result from having their car broken into.

Paige Schaffer, President and COO of Generali Global Assistance's Identity and Digital Protection Services Global Unit said: "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."

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