It happened to me about two years ago. Someone had used my card to purchase tickets to a Canadian theater. I disputed the charge with my bank and canceled the credit card, but it made me more cautious about making purchases online, because I suspect that’s where someone obtained my account number.
Although online shopping is more popular than ever, judging by the increase in online sales this holiday season, some 12 percent of consumers still don’t shop online partly because they worry about fraud and privacy, according to a recent survey by Javelin Strategy & Research, a financial services and consulting firm. The other big detractor from online shopping is that consumers want to see the merchandise before they buy it, the survey found.
Of those 12 percent:
- 32 percent of consumers want to see the merchandise to avoid returns
- 26 percent of consumers are worried that their personal information will be used fraudulently
- 21 percent are concerned about the security of their credit or debit card accounts
- 20 percent believe shipping costs are too high
- 18 percent fear that their personal information will be sold to other retailers
For those concerned about their bank account information being stolen, there are alternatives. You might remember I reported that PayPal has come out with a prepaid Mastercard. Consumers buy the cards at CVS, Rite Aid and Dollar General stores, where they can load money onto the cards. PayPal has another service, Bill Me Later, which essentially allows consumers to buy online using a line of credit issued to them through Bill Me Later. That service is only available with participating online retailers, and it carries a 20 percent APR.
If you shop online do you take extra steps to protect your bank accounts? If you don’t shop online, why not?