Consumers willing to accept promotional offers in return for passwords

Consumers say they would accept discounts and special offers from retailers in exchange for their passwords, a new study finds.

Consumers keep using the same passwords when signing up to retail online discounts and promotional offers, according to Centrify, an internet security company.

The online study, finds that over 70 per cent of surveyed respondents will spend somewhere between £50-£1000 on promotional offer when online shopping this Christmas. As online shopping becomes the norm, the convenience and popularity of the process means consumers must be increasingly aware of the risks, and ensure the experience remains safe and secure.

The survey reveals that security remains top of mind as over 70 per cent of consumers noted they always think about their security/privacy when shopping online. Unfortunately, despite the changing attitudes towards security, some consumers are still making basic security faux pas online.

Password security

Password hygiene is also a continuing problem when shopping online. Nearly 14 per cent admitted that they share passwords with friends and family so they can login to their accounts, whilst over 50 per cent said they save them to the retailer’s websites so as not to forget them. Over half also said that they only sometimes use different passwords for different retailer’s websites.

Most concerning is that one in eight said they would accept discounts and special promotional offers from retailers in exchange for their passwords, highlighting the risks consumers are willing to take in order to save money online.

83 per cent would sometimes, or never, check the security and privacy terms and conditions of the retailer, leaving them wide open to hacking and data theft if shopping with an unknown or untrusted retailer.

On top of this, more than a fifth would still not ensure there is a secure padlock icon in the browser before making their purchases, and 27 per cent said they would only do this on some occasions.

With Black Friday around the corner and the Christmas shopping season well under way for most, frugal shoppers need to consider their online safety before making any purchases. Barry Scott, CTO EMEA, Centrify, thinks that consumers can’t afford to put their personal information at risk for the sake of saving a few pounds on their Christmas shopping.

Scott adds, ‘They need to protect themselves and their personal information to avoid giving the best gift cyber-criminals could ask for, their money and identity!’

Centrify gives several tips for consumers when shopping online.

Always shop with reputable sellers with promotional offers, and be cautious when entering URLs. A misspelled domain, or non-‘https’ site could land you on a false site designed to steal your information.

Ensure you read the site’s privacy policy to understand how and where your personal information is being used. Lack of an easily visible privacy policy should be a red flag to using that site.

Be suspicious of links in unsolicited emails – always type the link directly into your browser, do not click on them within the email. Hovering over the links should highlight if the link is unsafe, as you would notice the link underneath may be different to the text.

Always use different, long, and complex passwords (or pass phrases) for each site. If you don’t, and a hacker steals your password for one account they will have free rein over the others! This would have devastating consequences on sites that have your personal and credit card information.

Do not store passwords. Many browsers, programs, or web applications will offer to store your password for you so you only have to enter the password once and never again. While seemingly a convenient option, it is a bad idea to store passwords associated with personal or financial accounts. This is especially true if you use public or shared computers.

Further reading on Christmas deals

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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