Identity Theft and Financial Fraud are Top Concerns for Holiday Shoppers

Finding the perfect gift is hard enough, but it’s not the only thing that consumers worry about during the holiday shopping season. Though ecommerce and online shopping make it easier for consumers to find great deals, it also makes them the target of scams and frauds. A recent survey from Capital One ® found that fraud and identity theft were the top concern for American consumers during the holiday season.

Americans cite identity theft and financial fraud as their No. 1 concern this holiday shopping season, over their fear of spending too much according the 2018 Holiday Shopping Survey by CreditWise® from Capital One®.

The flurry of shopping activity that comes from the holidays creates many opportunities for scammers to trick consumers into giving out personal data. Consumers are well aware of the danger. Among the 1,000 U.S. consumers surveyed for the 2018 CreditWise® from Capital One® Holiday Shopping Survey, the vast majority (85 percent) believe the holidays are a riskier time to shop.

More than a third of survey respondents (37 percent) reported that identity theft and financial fraud are their top concern about shopping during the holiday season. Concerns over financial fraud and identity theft were ahead of fears about spending too much during the holidays. The survey also found that one in four (26 percent) believe Cyber Monday is a riskier day to shop online than any other day of the year.

“Ahead of this holiday season, Capital One wanted to understand what really keeps consumers up at night when it comes to holiday spending,” said Joe Whitchurch, Head of CreditWise at Capital One, in a press statement. “We found that identity theft and fraud is a top concern for consumers as they prepare for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In fact, according to our survey, more than half of the respondents (62 percent) who know a victim or were themselves a victim of fraud said they could use more help in keeping tabs on their personal information.”

Concerns over financial fraud and identity theft are not unfounded. According to the FTC, consumers reported losing a total of $905 million to fraud in 2017, $63 million more than in 2016. And an estimate from Lifelock put the number of identity theft victims in 2017 at 16.7 million people. This explains why 41 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed by Capital One ® reported that they had experienced or knew someone who experienced fraud during the holiday season. The most common situations were credit card fraud (48 percent) and identity theft (33 percent).

As a demographic that shops online a lot, millennials reported being affected the most by financial fraud and identity theft. Millennial respondents were more likely to know someone or have themselves been a victim of identity fraud during the holidays than the older age groups.

Millennials were also twice as likely than other age groups to take action to protect their credit scores or prevent fraud during the holidays.

While Capital One ® focused on the responsibility of consumers to keep track of their credit activity, this survey is also a reminder to online retailers to secure their store and assuage the concerns of potential customers. A data security breach during the holiday season can be very expensive to fix and the damage to consumer trust can be lasting.

All online retailers should be using an HTTPS site. Not only does this make the data more secure from man-in-the-middle attacks, sites that are only HTTP will show as “Not secure” on Chrome browsers. It’s also a good idea to have a trusted provider for processing transaction. Paying less for merchant processing is counter productive if fewer people are willing to put their payment information on the site. At the very least, allow for multiple options, like payments through PayPal, so consumers can choose the payment method they trust the most.

For more information about online marketing during the holiday season, read this article on a survey on consumer holiday spending plans in 2018.

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