Throughout the Netherlands, but also in the rest of Europe, rising costs of living and inflation are creating a bleak economic outlook for the coming year. The logical consequence is that we will save and economise a little more and be a lot more conscious with our money. And therefore spend less on everything from food to online shopping and smartphones.
But in an effort to cut back on digital spending this year, consumers also risk endangering their personal privacy by, for example, voluntarily sharing login details for streaming services, according to research by Kaspersky.
In view of Safer Internet Day (6 February), it is important that consumers, despite their digital savings, continue to pay close attention to their online safety.
Increases risk of payment fraud
As people tighten their spending habits to reduce the cost of living, 53% of Dutch respondents expect they will be more careful about how they store online payment information. One-click payments, which take just milliseconds to pay for online purchases, allow consumers to store financial information at their favorite stores. Many companies offer this as a way to quickly and easily pay for purchases at checkout, but merchants’ security tokens aren’t always as secure as they seem.
Scams and phishing are favorite tactics for fraudsters looking for profit. In the first 10 months of 2023, Kaspersky identified more than 30 million phishing attacks worldwide targeting online shopping, payment systems and banking institutions. E-commerce platforms were used as decoys in 43.5 percent of all attacks (13,390,142 attacks).
Despite this fact, 63 percent of Dutch respondents are eagerly looking for more online bargains. And 51 percent plan to explore various free online activities, which could increase their exposure to online fraud.
Streaming services login
In addition to fewer people planning to upgrade their smartphones this year to ease the impact on their living costs, streaming services will also take a hit in 2024. 36 percent of respondents expect to reduce the number of streaming services they subscribe to. However, it is worrying to see that 38 percent of correspondents admit that they are comfortable sharing logins with friends and family. Among Gen Z and Millenials this is even 46 percent.
Despite international differences, the research shows a consistent trend worldwide to restrict streaming services as a cost-saving measure. For example, a fifth (20%) admit they plan to illegally download or stream movies or TV, which could expose them to fraud or sharing personal information on the dark web.
Stay safe online in 6 steps
To remain safe online, with digital savings due to cost savings, you as a consumer can take the following steps:
- Secure all devices you use for online transactions – such as banking, shopping, socializing – by installing timely updates and using internet security.
- Use a unique, complex password for all your different online accounts.
- Always review your privacy and security settings carefully and limit what can be seen and shared with others/third parties.
- Disable apps and features unless you’re using them.
- Disable tracking and location services and clear your cookies regularly.
- Check with services like “Have I Been Pwned of Gotcha” to see if one of your digital accounts has been breached.
As great as the internet can be for comparing prices and scoring bargains, it is also a haven for fraudsters and scammers. So it’s really important that as people make their personal financial priorities for this year and carefully examine their online spending, they remain vigilant against potential dangers. It is also necessary to think about your security when sharing passwords with friends and family. It may seem generous and harmless, but one leaked password can easily lead to many leaked accounts and a lot of additional costs. By paying closer attention to which stores want your financial information and not sharing streaming passwords, you can create a more organized, secure, and cost-effective digital lifestyle.
You can read tips for saving per category below: