Major retail chains have made headlines with a string of data breaches that have plagued consumers identity and security. Chic-fil-a, the latest retail victim of a data breach, is investigating the situation after receiving reports of unusual activity involving cards used at its restaurants. A year ago, Target experienced the largest data breach over the holiday season that compromised the security of an estimated 40 million debit and credit cards. Other notable chains such as Neiman Marcus, Michaels, PF Chang’s and Home Depot all experienced their own data breaches in recent years. Customer names, credit and debit card numbers experienced compromises resulting in vital information being exposed.
With the amount of confidential financial information being exposed, it is surprising to learn that only one-third of consumers ignored data breach notification letters, according to a recent Ponemon Institute study. The study found that the percentage of consumers took no action to protect themselves against fraud. Has the severity of the situation been properly communicated with consumers, or could the lack of consumer education be the issue? Ponemon recommends that companies should start by sending apology notification letters to their customers and clearly explain the situation at hand. Their customers should have a clear understanding of how they are directly affected, as well as educated on how to prevent identity theft and fraud.
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