Photo (cc) by Davide Restivo
Data breaches have made big headlines in the past year. So it’s really no surprise that Americans are afraid of getting hacked.
What may surprise you is just how concerned people are. A recent Gallup poll revealed that 69 percent of Americans “frequently or occasionally worry” about being the victim of a credit card hack, far more than the number worried about a home burglary (45 percent), car theft or break-in (42 percent), mugging (31 percent) or terrorist attack (28 percent), among other crimes. The second-most-worried-about crime is having a computer or smartphone hacked (62 percent).
“Americans may be more worried about hacking because a relatively high percentage of them say they have had their information hacked,” Gallup noted.
The survey found that more than a quarter (27 percent) of people in the U.S. said that in the past year, they or someone in their household had credit card information stolen in a hack attack on a store.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the data of more than 18.5 million California residents was hacked in 2013, a massive 600 percent leap from 2012. The increase was fueled in large part by huge data breaches at big retailers like Target and Neiman Marcus, as well as companies like LivingSocial.
Gallup said Americans’ concerns over being hacked may impact their shopping habits, as more people take steps to protect themselves from cybercriminals. It said:
Consumers may avoid stores that have been hacked and begin paying more frequently with cash or prepaid cards to protect their identities. To protect their customers and themselves, some credit card companies are switching to security chips, which are more secure than the magnetic strips currently common in the U.S., and are cautioning customers to check their accounts for suspicious activity.
The Huffington Post said hacking is taking its toll in the U.S.
The failure to shut down cybercrime has affected both credit card companies and retailers. The payment industry lost $7.1 billion last year to credit card fraud, a 29 percent increase from the previous year.
Retailers and other companies are working to strengthen the security measures they have in place, or add new security features. We recently told you about Apple Pay, MasterCard’s new fingerprint-scanning credit card, and stores converting to using chip-and-PIN technology.
Have you been the victim of a credit card hack? If not, are you concerned that you could be? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.
Here’s a video we produced a few months ago about protecting yourself from ID theft.