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Data Breaches and Identity Theft Worries Don’t Stop Shoppers From Spending
14 Dec
The holiday season is a busy time for retailers and consumers alike—and, unfortunately, also for fraudsters. Identity theft and payment fraud abound at all times of the year, but especially during peak spending times such as this.

However, a survey from Discover indicates that fears about identity theft and fraud won’t put a chill on spending for most shoppers. Although 62 percent of respondents in the Discover 2017 Holiday Shopping Survey said they were concerned about identity theft and fraud, 73 percent of folks said they wouldn’t change their shopping and spending behavior, in spite of recent data breaches that left consumers’ sensitive payment information vulnerable.

New technology helps with security concerns



One reason cardholders aren’t worried enough about fraud to stop shopping might be the recent advances in security technology, allowing them to put a freeze on their account in case of any concerns about their card being compromised. Says Laks Vasudevan, Discover’s vice president of products and innovation, “we look out for our cardmembers by offering a wide range of built-in credit card security features for free, including our recently launched Social Security number and new account alerts.”

Vasudevan went on to explain that Discover’s tech and security services monitor thousands of potentially risky websites and alert cardmembers if their Social Security number is used on them, or if new accounts are reported to their Experian credit report. Folks can easily put a freeze on their account in case of suspicious activity, and take the freeze off once the matter is cleared up. “Our new alerts help our cardmembers protect their identities beyond their Discover account,” said Vasudevan.

Taking care with credit



When shopping for the holidays, credit cards are the most popular payment method for most people. Thirty-two percent of those surveyed said they would primarily use credit to pay for their holiday purchases, while 29 percent said they favored prepaid or debit cards, and 23 percent preferred to pay with cash.

Many cardholders report being proactive about security when using credit: 62 percent said they monitor their statements closely, 41 percent keep an eye on their credit reports, and 38 percent use credit cards with built-in security features. Another eighteen percent pay for identity protection services.

The Discover Holiday survey included responses from 2,000 consumers ages 18 and older across the United States, and was conducted in October 2017.

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