Don't Put All Data Breach Blame on the Stores

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Consumers are pointing a finger at retailers for a rash of security breaches that left shoppers' credit and debit cards vulnerable to identity theft, with 80% of people in a survey saying that having their credit card data compromised is worse than "getting the flu."

According to the nationwide survey of more than 2,000 shoppers by Feedzai, a San Mateo, Calif., data science company, 60% of adults say merchants are "responsible" for data breaches -- including big-name brand retailers such as Target and Neiman Marcus, which each experienced widespread data breaches recently.

"Fraud prevention is now a matter of predicting complex consumer behavior based on changing sentiments," says Pedro Bizarro, chief data scientist of Feedzai. "These findings show that consumers believe it is the merchant's responsibility, but really it is a collective problem that the industry needs to understand in order to distinguish customers from criminals and keep payment data safe."

Retailers may have a case to make saying data breaches are a shared concern for shopper and retailer alike.

"It's convenient to blame merchants who are also easy targets of today's professional criminals, who are well-organized and use sophisticated technology," says Loc Nguyen, Feedzai's CMO. "However, keeping modern commerce safe is a collective responsibility for banks, merchants, government and consumers. The good guys also need to collaborate and fight fire with fire."

Consumers don't see it that way.

Besides the 60% of Americans who say security breaches are the primary responsibility of merchants, online and off, another 13% blame banks. The government is also a popular target of consumers' ire; only 5% of adults say it's up to the individual to prevent data breaches.

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