Data breaches are making online shoppers extra anxious. According to a recent survey called “Trust in the Internet” by global information security company NCC Group, nearly 8 out of 10 people, or 77 percent, do not feel very safe when shopping online and many are shying away from their favorite retailers as a result.
The survey, which questioned 10,000 people in the UK and U.S., also revealed that 64 percent of consumers believe they are likely to become a victim of a data breach within the next year.
Part of that concern comes from being prompted to share financial details when completing financial transactions online, according to the survey. In fact, 56 percent of consumers said that in order to complete online transactions, they often have to share financial details they would normally not feel comfortable sharing online.
Twenty-three percent of respondents admitted they are doing less online due to security concerns.
Only 8 percent of consumers strongly agree that they are comfortable shopping online and do not mind sharing the financial details that are required by online retailers.
“Demand on retailers to address security is reaching a critical point,” says Rob Cotton, CEO of NCC Group. “The recent spate of high profile data breaches has clearly had an impact on online trust and consumers are now placing responsibility squarely with retailers to tackle this issue. “
“Businesses now need to step up and make securing their customers’ data a top priority,” Cotton says. “The consequences of not doing so threatens the integrity and performance of businesses and the Internet as a whole.”
Shoppers also believe retailers should be held accountable for data breaches. The majority of shoppers surveyed — 84 percent — believe companies should compensate customers financially for their loss if they experience a breach.
Fortunately, there are some precautions shoppers can take when shopping online.
For starters, it’s helpful to make secure passwords for all online retailer accounts and update these passwords regularly.
It’s also important to pay with credit rather than debit when shopping online, since it is generally the safer way to go. Some shoppers go as far as setting up an account that they only use for online shopping and deposit the amount of funds needed to cover their purchases — no more and no less.
Also keep in mind that brick and mortar stores aren’t completely safe either. Data breaches, after all, have happened both online and in stores. Shoppers should be mindful when making purchases both online and in stores and should stay proactive about following recent breaches in the news to know if their financial data may be at risk.