A recent survey reveals that many people are going into the holiday season worrying about more than just what to get their mother-in-law for Christmas. Persistent worries about data theft linger for many consumers after last year’s string of data breaches, including a massive one at Target that led to millions of people’s credit card information being leaked at the height of the holidays.
Security encryption provider PKWARE asked people if they felt their personal information and payment data was safe, and 61% – almost two out of three – said no. Fifty-seven percent of them were concerned about their banking information being stolen, including debit and credit card account numbers, and 55% said they were worried about their Social Security numbers being compromised. When asked if they thought it was likely that their personal data would be stolen within the next year, 35% answered yes.
Most people haven’t had their data stolen – and aren’t changing their habits
Even though 69% of respondents said they haven’t experienced identity theft or payment data fraud, they were still concerned. Fifty-eight percent said they knew someone who had experienced data theft. However, despite their concern, the majority of people aren’t changing their shopping habits.
Seventy-three percent of those polled said recent data breaches at Target and Home Depot haven’t caused them to change the way they shop. But among people who make more than $100K per year, there were some shifts in spending habits. Ninety-percent of those higher-income bracket folks said they use their credit card less since the rash of data breaches, and 83% of them said they are more vigilant about monitoring their financial statements and credit reports.
One reason for that could be that people in the $100K+ income bracket were more likely to know someone who experienced data theft. Seventy-eight percent of them were acquainted with a data-theft victim, compared with 49% of respondents who earned $35K or less per year.
The emotional side of data theft
The survey also asked people how they felt about the data breaches in the news. When hearing about a new data-stealing event, 49% said they get angry, and 43% greet the news with feelings of anxiety and powerlessness.
When asked who they blame for the data theft, 42% lay the blame on hackers, while 36% fault the company’s security technology and procedures. Nine percent think someone on the inside of the company perpetrated the crime, and 8% think a company employee or web administrator exposed the data by accident.
The PKWARE survey was conducted in October 2014 by phone and included responses from 1,012 people ages 18 and older across the United States.