Eugenia-Headshot_450x450-(1).jpgIt is telling that in the digital world we now live in, more people are worried about becoming a victim of cybercrime than becoming seriously ill or injured.

This worry, according to Eugenia Blackstone of Generali Global Assistance, is the fear of when and not if it will happen to them.

“The percentage of people worried about being a victim seems to be going up,” says Blackstone, the Chief Marketing Officer for Identity and Cyber Protection at Generali Global Assistance (GGA).



ID Theft and Cybercrime Research Study

In partnership with Benenson Strategy Group, GGA recently released the findings of their second ID Theft and Cybercrime Research Study. The study surveyed over 700 adults on their concerns about identity theft and cybercrime, the need for expert assistance to help resolve identity theft and cyber threat incidents, and the institutions from which they’re looking to purchase the protective services.

According to the survey, 76% of respondents said they were worried about identity theft, while 34% indicated they were very worried. This outranked other common fears like becoming seriously ill or getting injured (74%), being in a car accident (64%) or having their home robbed (56%).

“There continues to be an increase in the amount of concern that people had around becoming a victim of identity theft and cybercrime. There was almost a 10 point increase between 2017 and 2020 for those very worried about becoming a victim of these crimes,” Blackstone says. “Between 2017 and 2020, we’ve seen a number of large breaches, and it was interesting to see whether or not consumers were getting ‘breach fatigue’ where they don’t care anymore and there is no fear or if they are continuing to worry about it. Our research uncovered the latter.”
 
 

 

Identity and Cyber Protection

Generali Global Assistance is a leading brand comprised of Travel Insurance & Assistance, Medical Risk & Home Care Management, Identity & Cyber Protection, as well as other care services.

GGA is part of the Generali Group, which for over 190 years has provided peace of mind to its clients and their customers and is now supported by more than 72,000 employees worldwide. GGA is proud to be the identity protection engine behind many leading Fortune 500 companies, providing comprehensive identity and cyber protection to more than 165 million customers across 90+ countries worldwide.

GGA’s Identity & Cyber Protection’s mission is to partner with forward-thinking companies that seek to understand & provide peace of mind to customers in distress through a unique approach to technology and protection services – including brands with loyalty and rewards programs. Blackstone says, while these programs aren’t necessarily cash, loyalty and rewards programs make a consumer just as vulnerable to hackers and fraudsters as someone with a financial account.
 

Thieves Like Perks, Too

“We love our perks and thieves like them, too,” she says. “While a loyalty program may not be a credit card or cash, it still has value. And because it’s not cash, it can typically take longer for someone to realize that they may have been victimized, that an account has been misused or the points have been stolen. Oftentimes the longer it goes unnoticed, the more difficult it can be to resolve.”

Blackstone goes on to explain that despite loyalty programs not being viewed as cold-hard cash, customers are still going to expect the brand to help them resolve the incident and make them whole so they’re not at a loss. Consumers can attempt to resolve the issue on their own, though often have difficulty understanding all the necessary steps required to fully resolve an identity theft incident.

One way brands have begun addressing this issue is to offer expert resolution services to help their customers in the event of identity theft or fraud. In fact, GGA’s research found that 76% of surveyed consumers feel that they would need the help of a trained expert to feel truly protected from identity thieves and cybercriminals.
Iris, GGA’s identity and cyber protection offering, puts consumers in control of their identity with some of the most highly demanded services via its user-friendly online dashboard, and provides a 360° approach to help keep them safe and secure in four comprehensive steps: Protect, Detect, Alert, and Resolve.
 

Only 1-in-3 were Satisfied with Resolution Provided by Financial Institutions

Of specific concern is only one-third of consumers who were seeking fraud resolution assistance from their financial institution were satisfied with the resolution experience, according to the GGA-sponsored 2021 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy & Research earlier this year. Moreover, four out of 10 of those victims decided that they were going to close their accounts at that financial institution specifically because they were unsatisfied with the resolution experience.

“I think it's really important to understand what you can do to minimize the chances of your customers becoming victims to [identity theft and cybercrimes], but also address how you work with them once they have been targeted, which can go a long way in actually retaining them as a customer,” Blackstone says.

What’s more, becoming a victim of these crimes can greatly impact your customers’ lives. Almost half (49%) of consumers in the GGA Identity Theft and Cybercrime Research Study say their life would be significantly impacted if they were a victim of identity theft or a cybercrime – with only 9% indicating they felt there would be minimal or no impact. 1-in-5 said they think there’s a 75% to 100% chance that they’ll be a victim of identity theft or cybercrime in the next five years.

So, how can brand companies help address this growing concern?
 

Going the Extra Mile to Make Things Right

Most consumers are frustrated by companies who make them jump through hoops to prove that, in fact, it was not them who committed the fraudulent act, which Blackstone says, makes things even more stressful and time-consuming.

“Companies really have to go the extra mile to try to make something that's already a negative experience as less negative as possible,” she says. “They need to somehow bring some positivity to it.” Blackstone goes on to say that when consumers go through these experiences, they feel violated and damaged. But if they call into that company and they are treated with compassion, they are given the help they need, and they are really made to feel at ease and told, ‘Hey, we're going to take care of this, don't worry about it’ – that goes a long way and is critical in the effort to help salvage that relationship.

Check out the full interview on our YouTube channel and be sure to download GGA’s infographic to learn how brand companies can offer their customers the protection they’re seeking.

Visit IrisIdentityProtection.com to learn more.
 

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