First Data’s 2018 Protecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) survey explores the attitudes and actions of today’s consumers towards cybersecurity, and identifies trends that can give financial institutions, retailers, service providers and individuals an extra edge in the battle for personal data.
The survey uncovered how each generation of American consumers approaches information protection. For instance, while younger consumers are most concerned about data security, they also are the most trusting that the government and modern technology can thwart cyber criminals.
The majority of consumers believe that fraud is inevitable. However, all generations surveyed trust regulated, records-driven industries with their data more than they do retailers and service providers who offer more convenient, quick-swipe payment channels.
The older you are, the more likely you are to believe that fraud is inevitable.
The threat is real: More than one in four consumers (26 percent) say they have had their personally identifiable information compromised within the last month. More than one in three (34 percent) have experienced a compromise within the last year.
With a social security number, a fraudster can achieve nearly every desired action, ranging from setting up false accounts to assuming a person’s entire identity.
Consumers need to be more concerned about what lies in the Dark. More than half of respondents in each generation who have completed a Dark Web scan found some of their information available. Despite these troubling results, the majority of consumers have yet to search the Dark Web for their most critical data.
Consumers have access to more channels than ever before to pay for goods and services. But are they unknowingly sacrificing convenience for security?
Despite their higher frequency of use, consumers are skeptical about the power of mobile payment platforms to safeguard PII.
Socializers are three times more likely than Maturists to use mobile platforms for retail, bill pay, or banking services.
Socializers also are the most confident that mobile payment channels can protect information, while Maturists are the most doubting.
Today’s consumers appear willing to forgive, but not completely forget should their favorite retailer experience a data breach.
Forty-three percent of consumers say they would still shop at a potentially affected retailer, but only use cash. Overall, nearly one in 10 consumers (11 percent) say they would stop shopping at a retailer who experienced a breach.
Eighteen percent of U.S. consumers say they’ve had a social media account hacked. With more channels available, and social platforms at the center of several recent and prominent data exposures, consumers need to take greater caution around an emerging source of online risk.
In 2017, reports emerged that Facebook exposed users’ information to the Cambridge Analytica firm. Despite the reach and significance of such a prominent breach, consumers’ responses varied significantly.
Continued Facebook use following the scandal was consistent across all generations.
Linksters, the MTV Generation, and Maturists believe that social media channels are more vulnerable to cyber attacks than online shopping, banking, and bill pay platforms, with Socializers also expressing comparable skepticism.
While advances in technology have opened new opportunities for fraudsters, they also have empowered consumers and businesses to respond to – or even proactively prevent – information theft. This evolution has also elevated consumer expectations, while simultaneously inspiring debate around boundaries between privacy and security.
Nearly half (45 percent) of consumers expect a retailer, provider, or financial institution who may have experienced a data breach to notify them within an hour of discovery.
More consumers (34 percent) prefer to be notified of potential data breaches by text than by email (33 percent) or a personal phone call (28 percent).
Despite their potential for enhanced and accelerated identification, consumers are split on the use of biometric technologies (such as fingerprint readers, retinal eye scanners, or facial recognition) as security tools.
As First Data’s 2018 Protecting Personally Identifiable Information survey reinforced, today’s consumers are more technically-savvy and diverse in their approaches to commerce, bill pay and information exchange than ever before. While the development of targeted strategies that accommodate the behaviors and preferences of each generation will benefit businesses in the long run, there are several fundamental tactics that businesses can undertake now to ensure that both they and their customers are keeping personal data as safe as possible.
Before launching new engagement tools, businesses need to be mindful of potential security vulnerabilities. If your consumers are monitoring and leveraging such platforms, chances are financial criminals will as well.
Although their retail approaches may vary in the future, the survey data highlights that today’s consumers are willing to forgive retailers who experience a breach. Consumers also expect nearly immediate alerts from retailers or financial institutions should their data become exposed.
With communication becoming more important in the fight against information theft, now also is a great time for businesses to remind their customers of basic steps they can take to close vulnerabilities.
Data cited within this publication is a result of a research study conducted by First Data.
© 2018 First Data Corporation. All rights reserved. The First Data name, logo and related trademarks and service marks are owned by First Data Corporation and are registered or used in the U.S. and many foreign countries. All trademarks, service marks and trade names referenced in this material are the property of their respective owners.