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Consumers dump breached retailers, says study
Published: 2007-04-11

In the wake of the massive breach of retailer TJX Companies, more than three quarters of consumers say they intend to stop shopping at merchants that suffer data leaks, according to a study conducted by analyst firm Javelin Strategy and Research.

The survey of consumers found that 63 percent viewed retailers and merchants as the least secure links in the chain of groups that handle credit-card information. Credit-card processors came in a distance second place, with one-in-six consumers considering processors insecure. When little information is known about a breach, more than half of all consumers consider that the merchants are to blame, the study found.

"Consumer are jumpy, and have served notice that they will steer profits to companies they perceive as security leaders,” James Van Dyke, president and founder of Javelin Strategy, said in a statement announcing the study.

The study may also highlight that consumers' collective memory is short term. While the recent computer breaches at TJX Companies has resulted in the theft of at least 46.5 million credit-card numbers, the data breach at card processor CardSystems Solutions in 2005 resulted in a similar number of cards -- 40 million -- compromised by the theft. A previous study conducted by Javelin Strategy found that reported identity fraud had declined in the past year.

Javelin concluded that creating a greater awareness of retailer compliance with Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard will help consumers make more informed decisions about to whom they give their business.

Posted by: Robert Lemos
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