This is a guest post from John Mason, TheBestVPN.com.
At the start of 2015, data broker LeapLab suffered the repercussions of enabling millions of dollars to be stolen from consumer accounts.
After purchasing payday loan applications, LeapLab sold customer information to marketers with highly questionable reputations.
The information included names, addresses, bank account numbers, and even social security numbers.
Naturally, this was a recipe for disaster.
One or several of the companies that bought information from LeapLab used that information to heinous ends (surprise, surprise).
Millions of dollars taken from innocent consumer accounts.
Consumers are increasingly wary of entering their information into online forms, but things like this still happen.
Dubious businesses like LeapLab ruin all the fun for more reputable companies who relentlessly protect their customers’ information.
Unfortunately, your visitors can’t tell the difference.
To them, the reliable looks eerily similar to the shady. Many of them, for that reason, will only enter their private information into websites that they are well-acquainted with.
If you’re new to their eyes or look untrustworthy, you can say “hasta la vista” to connecting with that prospect.
Why People are More Wary of Online Forms than Ever Before
With every cybercriminal attack that hits the media, consumers lose trust for the digital world.
Each attack makes them a bit more cautious about entering their information into new websites.
Unfortunately, that means your website.
And it means lost prospects, lost customers, and lost leads.
Sadly, the cybercriminal trend isn’t slowing down; rather, it’s speeding up.
Cyber thieves are creating 230,000 new malware samples every single day. The annual cost for cyber criminal damages is around 100 billion dollars. And a hacker attacks an unsuspecting victim every 39 seconds, which affects one in three Americans each year. Geopolitical cyberattacks are also on the rise, according to a study by Privacy Affairs.
Clearly, the problem is a real one.
Which means that consumer information concerns are not unfounded.
In fact, to further press the point that cybercriminals are on the rise, just consider that 2016 set the record for largest amount of money stolen from U.S. consumers through identity theft.
In 2015, $15.3 billion was stolen from U.S. consumers. In 2016, that number was a full $16 billion.
Not only that, but the number of hacked websites increased by 32% from 2015 to 2016.
So, how, you wonder, are these cyber criminals stealing customer information?
A full 25.6% of identity theft happens through creating a new online account under someone else’s information.
And, as you know, one of the best places for hackers to get all of that valuable customer information is during an unprotected data entry session.
In other words, when someone is filling out an online form with all of their private information and peering eyes are viewing that entry.
In fact, more records were exposed in 2016 than in any previous year.
Customer information is constantly at risk, and lots of companies aren’t doing anything about it.
Which further means that consumers lack a serious degree of trust for the reputable and the un-reputable alike.
Just how bad is the trust among consumers?
Close your eyes if you don’t want to cry.
Because eight in ten people are worried about their online security.
This means that if you don’t do everything in your power to immediately build trust with the people who matter most — your prospects and customers — your business will suffer for it.
But, you might wonder, can’t you simply use WordPress to add safe contact forms without much difficulty?
No. No you cannot.
According to Sucuri, three WordPress plugins — RevSlider, Gravity Forms, and TimThumb — accounted for 25% of all site hacks. All three WordPress plugins were out of date.
It’s Time to Step Up Online Form Security
Consumers are putting their trust in your website, and that means a lot. If you’re not protecting their data, that’s a violation of trust that will be remembered, and you could take a serious hit.
No one wants that. So it’s time to step up the security of your online forms.
In our next article, we’ll take a look at how to do that.
Learn more about FormAssembly’s security practices.