Home / Credit News / New survey suggests 25% of consumers worldwide have been victims of fraud

A recent survey courtesy of ACI Worldwide suggests that one in every four consumers has been the victim of credit, debit or prepaid card fraud at some point in their lifetime. (And kudos to LowCards.com to making us aware of the survey.)

Surveying over 5,200 consumers worldwide in 17 different countries, the 2013 Global Card Fraud Survey also noted the most significant concerns offered up by consumers, number one being identity theft. According to the survey - which was released in late-2012 - "82 percent of respondents are “very interested” in being notified prior to the bank taking action."

Considering how serious consumers take identify theft, it's surprising how many of us are still willing to enter our debit card - and thus our banking information - when we shop online. We've harped on the pros of using a credit card online in the past, but with more than four out of five consumers revealing their concerns about identity theft, it's worth reiterating that credit cards are simply safer when shopping online, and here's the biggest reason why:

Credit cards are not attached to your bank account.

Think of a credit card as an isolated payment tool that stands alone from the rest of your finances. In case of credit card identity theft, your checking and savings accounts are separate entities and are unharmed if your credit card account is hacked or stolen. This can eliminate headaches with banks and, perhaps later, credit reporting agencies unwilling or hesitant to remove fraudulent charges.

This is another reason credit cards are the preferred way to shop online; most credit cards offer stringent fraud and purchase protection. They're also notorious for quickly identifying suspicious activity and notifying a consumer, and willing to work with cardholders to make sure they're not charged for fraudulent charges.

It's not that big banks won't identify suspicious activity or reverse fraudulent charges - it's that credit card companies are by and large better at the practice. Combined with their purchase protection policies and the lower risks attached to your cards and it's simply safer to shop online with your credit card. (And if you have a cash back card, you might even earn 1% or more on your purchases.)

So for the four-out-of-five consumers that are most concerned with identity theft, we would recommend using your credit card online, shop with your debit card sparingly and, for extra protection, enroll in an identity theft monitoring service like Identity Guard.