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November 17, 2005

Consumers Fear Holiday Theft Of Credit Data - Survey

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Consumers fear their personal information will be stolen over the holidays and are altering their behavior because of it, according to a new survey commissioned by IBM.

Sixty-one percent of respondents in the survey, conducted by Opinion Research Corp., said they believe their bank cards are vulnerable during the holidays. Forty-nine percent of holiday shoppers said they fear their credit and debit information could be stolen, and 46 percent worry about personal information theft.

One out of seven Americans, or 14 percent, has had a credit card stolen, according to the sampling of 1,000 adult consumers. Ten percent of the victims said the theft occurred over the holidays. A third of them said it will affect their behavior. Nearly 20 percent plan to avoid or reduce online transactions for the rest of the year.

Two-thirds said they are more concerned about fraud and identity theft than they were a year ago. Half said online purchases are most worrisome, and 49 percent said they believe phone transactions are risky.

One-third of cardholders who believe they are vulnerable said they would spend less this year on online purchases than they have in the past. Thirty-one percent said they would spend less through catalogs. Twenty-nine percent said they would spend less at stores.

Half of the respondents said they would feel more secure with biometrics. One-third said they favor iris scanning. Forty percent said their fears could be alleviated by encryption and technology to prevent forgery, but 75 percent don't plan to upgrade security on their computers.

More consumers hold credit card companies responsible for their information than retailers , by a margin of 27 percent to 15 percent. And 26 percent believe individuals are responsible for keeping their information secure.

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