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ITRC Study: Loss of Credit Card Information and Merchant Data Breach Cited As Priority Concerns To Consumers

More than 80 percent of respondents cited phishing emails as a significant concern
San Diego, CA – August 16, 2010 – The Identity Theft Resource Center(ITRC) today announced that 87 percent of consumers who have made a purchase or bank transaction online in the past month are concerned about the safety of the personal identifying and financial information they transmit. The findings are part of the ITRC’s 2010 national survey to monitor trends in “Consumer Concerns about Internet Transactions.” The survey queried 500 respondents who had used the Internet for banking or purchasing during the previous 30 days. Click here for full survey.

Survey Findings:

Loss of Credit Card Information and Merchant Data Breach Cited as Priority Concerns

The ITRC survey found that consumers are increasingly concerned about the security of their personal and financial information when conducting transactions online. Eighty seven percent of respondents expressed significant concern about having their credit card information stolen or having merchants lose personal and financial information in a data breach. Respondents demonstrated a similar high-level of concern over specific security events, including:

* 81 percent of respondents cited phishing emails as a significant concern; * 80 percent of respondents expressed significant concern over having their passwords stolen; * 78 percent of respondents indicated they were significantly concerned over having usernames stolen; * 77 percent of respondents were concerned about receiving SPAM emails.

Proactively Addressing Security Threats Online

Perhaps as a result of public awareness of data breaches and security incidents, the ITRC survey found that consumers are taking some steps to address security concerns, but expressed a desire to better protect the privacy of their personal and financial information. When asked what actions were regularly taken to reduce the chances of personal and financial information from being stolen online, the survey found:

* 58 percent of respondents always check the URL of links they receive in email before clicking; * 41 percent refuse to use payment methods that allow access to their bank accounts; * 35 percent regularly change passwords; * 23 percent use low limit credit cards when conducting transactions on the Internet; * 21 percent use a service that makes their identity anonymous when transacting online; * 18 percent use a service that provides replacement credit cards that they’re not liable for.

Data Breaches Impact Online Behavior

A majority of respondents indicated that if their personal information were stolen as a result of a data breach, it would impact their online behavior and change how they conduct transactions online. When asked what actions they would most likely take in this event, the survey found:

* If a breach occurred at a shopping website, 73 percent of respondents would stop making purchases at that website; * If a breach occurred at a bill pay site, 68 percent would stop paying bills at that website; * If a breach occurred at a bank site, 66 percent of respondents would stop online banking at that website and 46 percent would stop all banking at that institution; * 68 percent would be likely to tell their friends about the breach at the offending website; * 11 percent would not change anything despite losing personal or financial information.

“The results of the survey clearly demonstrate that consumers are acutely aware of the potential loss of sensitive information when conducting transactions online. Merchants, banks and other businesses involved in online transactions need to take steps to protect the privacy of their customers. They need to provide ways to conduct online transactions that reduce the opportunity for loss of personal or financial information,” said Jay Foley, Executive Director, Identity Theft Resource Center. “One solution we hope to see grow in prominence will be the use of Secure Payment Agents. These products allow consumers to control all of their sensitive personal information when transacting online.”

For more information on Secure Payment Agents, please download the ITRC Secure Payment Agent white paper.

About the ITRC The Identity Theft Resource Center' (ITRC) is a nationally awarded, non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft in resolving their cases, and to broaden public education and awareness in the understanding of identity theft. If you are an identity theft victim call the ITRC toll-free at 1 (888) 400-5530 for no-cost assistance. Visit www.idtheftcenter.org

Contact: Karen Barney [email protected] 848-444-3286 (direct) 619-405-4360 (cell)

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