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With so much to juggle during the holidays, worrying about identity theft might not be too high on people's lists. But if you're planning to shop this holiday season—especially online—you might want to consider taking some precautions.
Consumers plan to spend $1,649 this year on holiday gift purchases—75% more than last year, according to Experian. At the same time, 12% of shoppers said they fell victim to identity theft during a past holiday season—and of those, many said it happened while shopping online.
As part of our ongoing review of spending during the holidays, Experian surveyed more than 1,000 consumers to see how the holiday season affects their finances and lives. Read on for our insights and analysis.
Over Half of Holiday ID Theft Victims Say the Theft Happened Online
Of those who reported falling victim to identity theft during the holidays, 52% said the fraud occurred while they were shopping online, according to the Experian survey. Among those victimized, 20% reported that the theft happened on Cyber Monday. Online holiday shopping is gaining immense popularity: Last year, nearly half of all consumers said they planned to do most of their holiday shopping on the internet.
Among the others who reported having their identity stolen during the holidays, 27% said it happened while they were shopping at a retail store, 13% said their wallet was either lost or stolen while holiday shopping, 4% fell victim due to mail theft, and the rest due to other causes.
One in Five Consumers Would Risk Identity Theft for a Good Cyber Monday Deal
When asked about the risk of identity theft during the holidays, 30% of consumers reported being concerned, according to Experian. This figure is down from last year's 35%, which may point to increased consumer confidence when it comes to fraud prevention and identity protection services.
The majority—the other 70%—felt neutral or not concerned about the fraud risk. The portion of people who reported being concerned has dropped by 5 percentage points since 2017. A shocking 20% of consumers even said they are willing to risk identity theft in exchange for a good Cyber Monday deal—a 7 percentage point increase compared with the same survey from 2018.
Most Consumers Want Their Banks and Credit Card Companies to Be More Careful
Although just a little more than 10% of the consumers in our study said they have been affected by identity theft during the holidays, nearly all of those surveyed said they want their banks and credit card companies to be more careful with their personal information. More than 80% said they want their bank or credit card companies to take more precautions to protect their personal information during the holiday season.
If you're concerned about your identity going into the holidays, consider enrolling in Experian's IdentityWorks℠ protection so you can make sure your personal information doesn't fall into the wrong hands. Regularly monitoring your credit reports can also help you know if new accounts are opened in your name without your permission. To see what accounts are listed in your credit file, you can get a free copy of your credit reports and credit scores from Experian.
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