We’ve all seen the headlines – companies across the globe have, again and again, fallen victim to cyber-attacks, leaving consumers increasingly worried about the safety of their personal information. How can today’s consumers protect themselves from the constant threats of data breaches, hacking, and identity theft? A simple yet powerful solution is to choose paper receipts over digital alternatives when shopping.
Paper receipts reduce the need to disclose personal information during transactions—and there has never been a better time to take advantage of this important benefit. According to the Identity Theft Research Center’s Annual Data Breach Report, 2022 witnessed the second-highest number of data compromises in the U.S. in a single year, impacting at least 422 million individuals.
When cybercriminals get ahold of personal information—like email addresses that companies collect in order to offer digital receipts—consumers can face any number of risks. For example, they may be flooded with spam emails and phishing attempts, potentially leading them to click on malicious links or download harmful content. According to Forbes, phishing statistics for 2022 reveal a staggering 300,497 victims in the U.S. alone, resulting in a total loss of $52,089,159!
Identity theft also poses a threat with severe consequences for victims, including financial losses, emotional distress, and damaged credit scores. Like phishing, identity theft is also on the rise. In 2022, the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network received over 5.1 million reports, of which 46 percent were related to fraud and 21 percent were associated with identity theft.
While many challenges remain, consumers can begin to regain control of their data by choosing paper receipts whenever possible. In contrast to digital receipts that often require email addresses, phone numbers, and other identifying details, paper receipts only require the information necessary to complete a purchase, severing the link between consumer transaction history and their personal information and reducing the probability of criminal activity.
In an age where digital threats loom large, embracing paper receipts is a simple yet effective method for safeguarding consumer information. By reducing personal data exposure, minimizing spam and phishing risks, and fortifying defenses against identity theft, paper receipts can be a formidable ally for consumers in securing and protecting the transactional experience.