After data breaches hit major retailers at the end of last year, Americans are growing more concerned about credit and debit card fraud, according to the 2014 Unisys Security Index.
This year, 59 percent of U.S. respondents are seriously concerned ("extremely" or "very" concerned) about other people obtaining and using their credit or debit card details, jumping from 52 percent in 2013, according to the report based on a survey of 1,005 Americans. Ranking second and third, respectively, on the list of top security concerns, 57 percent of Americans are seriously concerned about identity theft, and 47 percent are seriously concerned about national security in relation to war or terrorism.
Reflective of widespread concerns over financial security, nearly 60 percent of Americans surveyed say that a security breach involving their personal or credit card data would make them less likely to do business at a bank or store that they commonly use. Nearly 40 percent said they would not be likely to change how they shop or do business following such a breach.
"In today's hyper-connected world, people are wary of losing their financial and personal data to cybercrime, and it is crucial that businesses review and enhance their security measures on a continuous basis," said Dave Frymier, chief information security officer at Unisys. "Organizations that ignore the risk of data breaches do so at their peril, as brand reputation and customer loyalty often depend on a company's ability to protect personal information."
Of the respondents, Americans with an annual income of $50,000 or less had the highest levels of concern about credit/debit card fraud and identity theft, with more than 60 percent being extremely or very concerned.
Overall U.S. Index results
On a scale of zero to 300, the overall U.S. Unisys Security Index scored at 123, a moderate level of concern. While the overall index has increased slightly from 2013, the last two surveys registered the lowest level of concern since the benchmark survey was inaugurated, after peaking in 2011.
"Most consumers have been insulated from major financial losses resulting from data breaches, because those losses are largely absorbed by businesses and financial institutions, " added Frymier. "That may explain the low levels of internet security concern—as well as the large segment of respondents who said they would not change their behavior as consumers as a result of data breaches."
Across all areas of security concerns, the 50 to 64 age group had the highest percentages of extreme concern, except for credit or debit card fraud, where the 25 to 34 age group had the highest level of concern. In addition, respondents with lower income and those living in the south tending to have the highest level of concern across all areas of security.
Compared to the other countries included in the index, the U.S. reported the eighth highest level of overall concern. The Netherlands had the lowest reported level at 66, while Mexico had the highest level of concern at 203.