Following the recent Target breach, when polled, American shoppers say they are very concerned about the safety of their personally identifiable information but, according to the new Associated Press–GfK Poll, they are not all taking proper precautions to protect their data.

Key Findings from the survey:

Shopper Concerns

  • The survey found that nearly 50 percent of those polled are extremely concerned about their personal data when shopping in stores since the breach
  • 58 percent say they have deep worries when spending online
  • 62 percent are very concerned when they buy on their mobile phones

Shopper Safety Precautions (or lack thereof). Who’s Responsible?

  • 41 percent have checked their credit reports
  • Less than 41 percent have changed their online password at retailers’ websites, requested new credit or debit card numbers from their bank or signed up for a credit monitoring service
  • Just 37 percent say consumers bear most of the responsibility for keeping their data safe, while 88 percent place the burden on the retailers who are collecting it
  • Six in 10 say the banks that provide credit or debit cards or the credit bureaus should bear most of the responsibility

What do these findings tell us?

Well, they shed light on two areas: company responsibility and shopper responsibility. Both parties have a responsibility to keep information secure, yet shoppers want to rely on the retailers or credit card companies.

It is important to understand we are all responsible for our security. That means the retailer and the shopper both have roles to play in security. Here are some key tips for each of these groups:

Some tips for Retailers

  • Request payment card authorization.
  • Check payment card security features (expiration date, appearance of Card Validation Code, and the appearance of the magnetic stripe).
  • Verify the account number. Depending on your system, you may be able to verify the account by comparing the card number to the magnetic stripe number that appears on your POS terminal or by entering the last four digits of the card number into the terminal, then watching for an alert.
  • Verify the customer’s identity. Check the signature on the receipt to the signature on the card. Ask for government identification.
  • Abide by PCI Standards and provide PCI training to your staff.

Some tips for Shoppers

  • Change your PIN frequently, and have a completely different PIN for every card.
  • Have different security questions and answers for your various cards.
  • Create and maintain different passwords for all online banking, and change your passwords frequently.
  • Check your credit report often to be sure there is not any unauthorized spending.
  • Review your purchases thoroughly via your banking statement to ensure there are no fraudulent charges.
  • Stay updated on recent breaches and security best practices.

In conclusion, it is important for all parties to follow best practices to avoid breaches, and it is very important that when fraud does take place shoppers change all passwords and security information immediately..

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted Jan. 17 through Tuesday and involved interviews with 1,060 adults. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.