Data Breaches Cause Shopping Precautions

Following a number of high-profile data breaches, including ones at Saks Fifth Avenue and Panera Bread, the threat of someone obtaining their credit card information is on the minds of many consumers.

In a recent study from the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), conducted by The Harris Poll, 81% of US consumers said they worry about how well businesses will protect their personal information. And because of these concerns, many have taken actions to safeguard their data.  

One way they did so was by simply using a different form of payment. Some 43% reported using cash or checks more often, and another 5% said they used alternative currencies like cryptocurrencies. 

Others opted to shop at more locally-owned stores rather than department store chains, and some even signed up for additional fraud detection to further protect themselves from cyberbreaches. 

What's more, over half of respondents said they were more closely monitoring their credit and debit card accounts for any fraudulent activity. 

AICPA's findings are in line with a separate survey from security company RSA, which also looked at the steps people take to protect their privacy. Of the 7,579 internet users surveyed in the US and Western Europe, nearly 80% said that wherever possible, they try to limit the amount of personal information they share with companies. And seven in 10 said they have boycotted—or would boycott—a company that continuously shows no regard for protecting their personal data. 

Interestingly, however, more than half of respondents said they're used to giving away their personal information, and that "reversing that trend will be almost impossible." And another 46% believed handing over their data was unavoidable—they felt they had "no choice but to hand [it] over in return for products/services from companies."