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Target credit monitoring: Poll says customers fear but still apathetic of theft

Target credit monitoring still isn’t being utilized nearly as frequently as experts believe it should be by customers affected or possibly hit by the massive Target security breach. A new poll says that while a majority of U.S. shoppers still fear their personal information being stolen, a majority are nonetheless apathetic in taking the steps to help protect or screen their data into staying secure. The CS Monitor shares this Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, that the poll reveals a stunning disparity between the number of Americans worried about security breaches and actually doing something about them.

Target Store Photo in Westchester
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Free Target credit monitoring offers were initially provided by Target stores in New York City last month after the security breach, but fewer customers took advantage of the program than expected. A new poll conducted by the Associated Press has revealed that while U.S. customers still fear being theft victims following these information robberies, they “remain ultimately apathetic in attempts to protect their personal data.”

The recent survey shows that almost 50 percent of Americans have expressed concerns about shopping at sores using credit or debit cards for fear of their personal information being breached or stolen. Furthermore, over 60 percent are worried about spending money online at popular retail sites, while an almost equal amount are troubled choosing to buy products on mobile phones.

According to the press release on the Target credit monitoring poll:

“But just 37 percent have tried to use cash for purchases rather than pay with plastic in response to data thefts like the one at Target, while only 41 percent have checked their credit reports. And even fewer have changed their online passwords at retailers' websites, requested new credit or debit card numbers from their bank or signed up for a credit monitoring service.

The poll offers insight into the effects big data breaches can have on consumer behavior. There have been worries that shoppers would dramatically change their habits since December, when Target announced the breach that could wind up being the largest in U.S. history. Weeks later, those concerns were elevated when luxury retailer Neiman Marcus disclosed that it too was the victim of a breach that may have compromised 1.1 million debit and credit cards.”

However, security experts in the field are now saying that Americans believe security theft becomes much more likely when they choose to use their credit or debit cards, including offering retailers personal information like email addresses or phone numbers.

"They ... just chalk it up to ... 'It's part of life,'" says Cameron Camp, a major security researcher at a global security firm ESET. He thinks that another major issue that the Target security breach brought to light is that some customers never think that they will be made a victim, or be held liable if fraudulent charges are placed onto their accounts.

Although the Target security breach is still being investigated by national authorities, new evidence has revealed that a 17-year-old male from Russia may have been a key developer in creating the malware used in the massive information leak that left thousands of people’s credit card information at risk.

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