NEW YORK (AP) -- American shoppers say they are very concerned about the safety of their personal information following a massive security breach at Target, but many aren't taking steps to ensure their data is more secure, says a new Associated Press--GfK Poll.
The poll finds a striking contradiction: Americans say they fear becoming victims of theft after the breach that compromised 40 million credit and debit cards and personal information of up to 70 million customers. Yet they are apathetic to try to protect their data.
In the survey, nearly half of Americans say they are extremely concerned about their personal data when shopping in stores since the breach. Sixty-one percent say they have deep worries when spending online, while 62 percent are very concerned when they buy on their mobile phones.
But just 37 percent have tried to use cash for purchases rather than pay with plastic in response to data thefts like the one at Target, while only 41 percent have checked their credit reports. And even fewer have changed their online passwords at retailers' websites, requested new credit or debit card numbers from their bank or signed up for a credit monitoring service.
The poll offers insight into the effects big data breaches can have on consumer behavior. There have been worries that shoppers would dramatically change their habits since December, when Target announced the breach that could wind up being the largest in U.S. history. Weeks later, those concerns were elevated when luxury retailer Neiman Marcus disclosed that it too was the victim of a breach that may have compromised 1.1 million debit and credit cards.
But security experts say the results show that Americans have come to expect that security theft is a possibility when they use their credit or debit cards or provide retailers with phone numbers, emails and other personal information.
"They ... just chalk it up to ... `It's part of life,'" says Cameron Camp, security researcher at global security firm ESET who believes people don't think they will be liable for fraudulent charges.
Experts also say the results show another expectation Americans have: While nearly 4 out of 10 say they have been victimized by personal data theft, most expect credit card companies, banks or retailers to take responsibility when that happens.
About 38 percent report that they think they have either had someone make unauthorized purchases using their credit or debit cards without it having been physically stolen or that someone had used their personal information to apply for a fraudulent line of credit, the poll says. And just over a third of Americans think their personal information was compromised in the breach at Target.
But the survey shows that 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.
Andrea Davis doesn't believe she was affected by the Target breach, but she recently found unauthorized charges on her American Express credit card. Still, she hasn't taken steps to make her data more secure because she says she feels protected when she uses her Amex card. In fact, American Express immediately took off the charges after she notified the company.
"You feel discouraged, but in the end, everyone gets their money," says Davis, who lives in Marina del Rey, Calif. "It is what it is."
The sentiment was different among Americans who've been victims of personal data theft. In that group, 52 percent have checked their credit report, while 41 percent have tried to use more cash. Twenty-eight percent have signed up for a credit monitoring service.
Eve Sims signed up for a credit card monitoring service for a monthly fee of $14 about five years ago after she found fraudulent charges from Nigeria on her credit card. "It's worth it," she says.
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.
The poll used KnowledgePanel, GfK's probability-based online panel that is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. Respondents were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods, and later, completed this survey online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't otherwise have Internet access were provided with access at no cost to them.
AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.
CHICAGO (AP) -- Another winter day, another below-zero high for many parts of the Midwest.
The deep freeze that hit earlier this month has returned, bringing with it wind chills ranging from the negative teens to 40s, cancelations of schools, trains, flights and signs of resignation from parents forced to bring kids to work and residents who are tired of bundling up.
"We had two (employees) call in because they couldn't come to work because of the school closings and another called in sick," said Kristelle Brister, the manager of a downtown Chicago Starbucks who had to bring her 9-year-old son into the store because his school was closed. "It's hard."
A persistent weather pattern that's driving Arctic air south was forecast to force temperatures to plummet for about 2 1/2 days, starting overnight Sunday. Actual temperatures will range from the teens in northern Kentucky to double-digits below zero in Minnesota, but even colder wind chills were expected - minus 43 in Minneapolis; minus 18 in Dayton, Ohio; minus 14 in Kansas City, Mo.; and minus 3 in Louisville, Ky.
By sunrise Monday, weather forecasters in Chicago were telling viewers that the high temperature for the day had already come and gone and that the low may reach minus 4 degrees with wind chills at 40 below.
"I'm moving to Alaska where it's warmer," joked Kathy Berg, a 48-year-old medical assistant who arrived by train for her job in downtown Chicago wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt, sweatshirt, polar fleece hoodie, winter coat, knit cap, two scarves and two pair of gloves.
Meanwhile, at Donutville U.S.A. in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, a couple of guys said they weren't going to let a little cold keep them from their morning cruller.
"We're here every day - we never miss," said Angelo Barile, a 72-year-old retired owner of an Italian bakery.
At Chicago's Union Station, several people hoping to take trains early Monday were told there would be no service until the afternoon. Homeless people, looking for places to stay warm, kept a watchful eye for security, knowing if they stayed in one place too long they would be kicked out.
"You have to keep moving around," said Von Khan, 67, who carried big shopping bags in each hand and a backpack slung over his shoulder.
Frigid temperatures are expected to hold into Tuesday. If Chicago makes it to 60 straight hours below zero, it will be the longest stretch since 1983 - when it was below zero for 98 hours - and the third longest in 80 years.
Chicago Public Schools called off Monday's classes for its nearly 400,000 students, as did suburban districts. Earlier this month, when it was below zero for 36 straight hours, CPS closed for two days. And just as earlier this month, when airlines canceled more than a 1,000 flights over a two-day period, by early Monday morning the airlines at the city's two major airports had already canceled more than 500 flights.
In the northern U.S., North Dakota and South Dakota residents dealt with dangerous cold and wind gusts Sunday that reached up to 60 mph - blowing snow to the point where it was nearly impossible to travel in some spots. On Monday, snow drifts kept Interstate 29 closed from Sioux Falls to the Canadian border before reopening in the morning. In Indiana, where 50 mph gusts were recorded early Monday, officials recommended only essential travel in more than half of its counties.
In Windom, southwestern Minnesota, drifting snow and whiteout conditions closed several highways Sunday, stranding about 70 people, including a bus full of hockey players, at a recreation center for the night.
The surprise guests included three dogs.
"You can't very well keep your dogs out in the car," said Greg Warner, manager of the Business Arts and Recreation Center.
And speaking of cars, the bitterly cold weather has been good for business at the Batteries Plus store in northwest Omaha, where employee Scott Miller, 33, said "it's been hard to keep stock in car batteries."
In Michigan, which has in parts experienced its snowiest January on record, expressways closed as snow and subfreezing temperatures played a role in multiple crashes Sunday; at least three people died over the weekend because of weather-related accidents.
Business is far from usual this winter for Alex Alfidi, manager at Leo's Coney Island restaurant in the Detroit suburb of Birmingham. His 24-hour restaurant been getting some carryout patrons, but the casual walk-in customers have stayed away.
"We slowed down big time," said Alfidi, 39. He said he's logged some challenging winters in his 15 years in Michigan.
"This is the biggest one," he said.
Associated Press writers Nelson Lampe in Omaha, Neb.; David Runk in Detroit; James MacPherson and Blake Nicholson in Bismarck, N.D.; Ashley Heher and Erica Hunzinger in Chicago; and Gretchen Ehlke and Dinesh Ramde in Milwaukee contributed to this report.