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Despite Risks, Consumers Not Likely to Change Behavior After a Security Breach

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Old habits are hard to change — particularly when it comes to online behaviors, so it seems. A new survey from NTT Ltd., a global technology services company headquartered in London, finds that while 94% of U.S. consumers are well aware of the risks involved in online shopping, only 25% say they’d alter their shopping practices after a security breach.

In fact, 35% of consumers say they would keep shopping with a retailer whose security was breached, though 46% feel they’d stop shopping with it if their personal or credit card info were leaked during a breach.

Shoppers might have a false sense of security

It apparently takes a lot to break consumers’ sense of security when shopping online — that, or they’re willing to deal with the risk when ordering their Peloton bikes, smartwatches and scrapbooking supplies on their laptops or smartphones.

More than 1 in 4 survey respondents (26%) say they’ve already been victims of identity theft or credit card fraud after shopping online (10% of those occurrences happening specifically amid the coronavirus pandemic). In addition, half (50%) say they’ve trusted a retailer with their credit card info, even after it had experienced a data breach impacting millions of consumers.

Nearly 6 in 10 (58%) consumers feel their personal information is safe while shopping online. And in terms of where that information was stored, 55% say they feel it’s safe in digital wallets and peer-to-peer payment services, while 57% say the same for retail mobile apps. (Interestingly, a significantly smaller percentage — 19% — of consumers feel their information’s safe being stored on an e-commerce site.)

Consumers already taking security measures

As noted, 94% of online shoppers say they’re in the know about cybersecurity risks, and already take the following security measures:

  • 76% check an e-commerce website for a secure HTTPS connection
  • 73% say they rarely (or never) click on links for deals offered through ads, emails or social media promotions
  • 63% don’t shop online when connected through public Wi-Fi networks
  • 51% use two-factor authentication (2FA)

Credit card fraud remains a top concern this holiday season among U.S. consumers, despite them taking security measures and continuing to shop online despite security breaches. For 44% of respondents, fears of credit card or bank fraud loom as their top security concern.

Besides security measures like 2FA or not shopping online when using public Wi-Fi, there are other ways to stay safe this holiday season, including setting transaction alerts on your credit card.

While banks and credit cards offer built-in fraud protection, payment platforms like Venmo don’t always offer something similar. As such, it’s a good idea to be mindful of this and keep an eye out for suspicious activity on your accounts. Plus, make sure to check your credit score for free to monitor any significant changes.

Methodology: NTT conducted an online survey of 1,057 U.S. adults ages 18 and older who buy personal goods online. It was conducted via the SurveyMonkey Audience platform on Oct. 5 and Oct. 6, 2021.