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With the festive season now over, a recent survey reported that two-thirds of shoppers were worried about holiday data breaches that may have ensued as huge numbers of customers flocked to online stores to make their Christmas purchases.
It seems that the coronavirus pandemic has prompted consumers to shop via online stores in their droves; even those who have previously avoided online shopping due to cybersecurity fears have had to turn to retail websites, despite their concerns about entering their credit card details to make an online payment.
While shopping trends have been evolving for several years, and many high street stores are gradually declining, the coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly increased the growth of online shopping. It is, therefore, unsurprising that fears of online data breaches have heightened as Christmas approaches.
While talk about the dangers of online shopping may often be seen as scaremongering and technology-phobic, such fears are not unreasonable. Online retailers are unsurprisingly a prime target for hackers due to the wealth of personal and credit card details which these companies’ servers hold.
However, in late 2019, when American consumers were alerted to 19 data breaches of retailers and consumer companies (which had happened since the start of 2018), both online shoppers and in-store shoppers were revealed to be at risk. The fact is that flaws in both online and in-store payment systems are completely possible, and there is little to say that one risk outweighs the other. Ultimately, hackers can take advantage in both ways.
Holiday data breaches were nevertheless a massive possibility for 2020, as hackers may had seen Christmas as a prime opportunity to capitalise on growing web traffic and the increasing numbers of online shopping account holders.
Like all kinds of data breaches, the breaches of online retailers can be extremely distressing for the affected customers. There can often be a delay before the occurrence of the data breach is made known to the company and to the customers, and if you find out that your payment details are at risk, you may have to face the worrying prospect of becoming a victim of fraud. The last thing anyone wants is to have their data exposed by a flaw in a company’s computer system.
As specialist Data Leak Lawyers, we have seen the anxiety that can result from a data breach which can also provoke an immediate risk of fraud. In our support of victims of the 2018 British Airways data breach, we won compensation for people who had their full card numbers, expiry date information and security codes (CVV) compromised, so we have first-hand knowledge of the profound emotional and psychological effects such leaks can produce.
While it is difficult for you as an individual to safeguard yourself against large-scale data leaks, you can take a few simple steps to reduce the chances of your online accounts being hacked. For example, it is important to use different passwords for your online accounts.
However, if you should be affected by holiday data breaches this Christmas season, it is important to have expert lawyers on hand to obtain the compensation that you deserve. At The Data Leak Lawyers, we have years of experience in handling large-scale data leak cases, and can offer free, no-obligation advice over a quick phone call at your earliest convenience.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you hear that your personal data has been exposed.
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