Today I served as the keynote identity theft speaker for the Fort Worth Speakers Foundation, here in balmy Texas (well, compared to Montana, where I spoke last week). After the main presentation, I fielded a range of questions on all topics. One woman asked me this: “At what point is fraud committed as a by product of the Target breach no longer Target’s fault?” The question was highly intelligent and the answer is very revealing.
When word got out about the massive security breach that occurred at Target in December of 2013, and which could wind up being the largest in U.S. history, many speculated that shoppers would dramatically change their habits. After all, nearly 1 out of 3 Americans were affected.
But a recent poll conducted by the Associated Press shows that our intentions don’t necessarily match our actions. The AP-GfK Poll, which was conducted in January and involved interviews with 1,060 adults, shows that the majority of Americans polled say they fear becoming victims of theft after the breach.
Yet, despite these numbers, the statistics show that very few are willing to make significant changes to actually protect their data:
- Only 29% requested new credit or debit card numbers from their bank
- Only 31% have changed their online passwords at retailers’ websites,
- Only 18% signed up for a credit monitoring service
- Only 37% have tried to use cash for purchases rather than pay with plastic in response to data thefts like the one at Target
- Only 41% have checked their credit reports
Which means that if you shopped at Target during the breach window (November – December 2013) or have been notified that you were part of the breach, but have done nothing about it, you are, from today forward, responsible for any fraud that happens to you.
Target has done their part (notifying the American public via letter and press), now you need to do yours. Cancel your credit or debit card and have them send you one with a new number, and then sign up for Target’s free credit monitoring. Anything less aggressive is naive, which seems to be what 71% of Target shoppers insist on being.
John Sileo is an an award-winning author and keynote speaker on identity theft, internet privacy, fraud training & technology defense. John specializes in making security entertaining, so that it works. John is CEO of The Sileo Group, whose clients include the Pentagon, Visa, Homeland Security & Pfizer. John’s body of work includes appearances on 60 Minutes, Rachael Ray, Anderson Cooper & Fox Business. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076.