Target (TGT) has offered free credit monitoring to all its customers that shopped at US stores, after the security breach that resulted in about 110 million people hacked.
However, a recent poll conducted by Associated Press-Gfk indicates that even though customers are concerned that their private information could be stolen, they haven’t signed up for the program.
The survey indicates that almost half of Americans are concerned that someone could steal their information while shopping at a store. When shopping online the number increases to 61 percent, poll results indicate.
However, considering the headaches caused by the Target hack — and others like Neiman Marcus and Michael’s — and the free offer of credit monitoring, 37 percent of those surveyed indicate they are paying with cash as a precaution.
Only 41 percent have taken advantage of the free credit monitoring offered by Target as a result of the breach.
An even lower number of respondents have changed their passwords at retailers websites, requested new card numbers from their financial institution, or used the free credit report offers.
Retailers such as Target, were concerned that consumers would switch loyalties after it was revealed that around 40 million credit card numbers were stolen in the hacking attack and an additional 70 million customers saw other personal information such as PIN numbers and passwords, also stolen.
The Target security breach — which many experts believe could be the largest in US history — was followed earlier in 2014 by the announcement that high-end retailer Neiman Marcus had also suffered similar fate, and recently the craft store Michaels disclosed the same.
Those who follow security breaches believe that American consumers have grown used to the idea their security could be compromised when shopping at a store or online.
“They… just chalk it up to… ‘It’s part of life,'” says Cameron Camp, security researcher at global security firm ESET who believes people don’t think they will be liable for fraudulent charges, reports CS Monitor.
Interestingly, four out of 10 people surveyed believe the financial institutions or retailers will take care of them if they are affected by theft in a hack.
And, while it is partly true that many credit card companies offer refunds for purchases that are disputed in these cases, customers also should take it upon themselves to check their credit reports when it is offered for free like in Target’s case.
In its website Target encourages customers to make use of the free credit monitoring.
“Because we value you as our guest and your trust is important to us, you can sign up for one year of free credit monitoring that includes identity theft insurance (except where prohibited by law). In addition to a complimentary copy of your credit report, you will receive daily credit monitoring, identity theft insurance where available, and have access to personalized assistance from a highly trained Fraud Resolution Agent. This offer applies to all Target guests who shopped in US stores. To register, please go to creditmonitoring.target.com before April 23, 2014.”
Are you taking advantage of Target’s offer of free credit monitoring?