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Breaches Have Many Americans Turned Off Online

By ThreatMetrix
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Concerned with breaches compromising personal info, almost a quarter of Americans stopped buying online USA Today poll

In addition to finding 24 percent of Americans going back to brick-and-mortar stores, the USA Today poll of 790 Internet users conducted by Princeton Survey Research (margin of error of +/- four percentage points) found 56 percent said they cut back on the number of Internet sites they used. They were only going to large, well-known companies they were confident were safe. Hmmm like Target, Neiman Marcus and Michaels perhaps?

Thoughts from the poll

Elizabeth Weise and Jessica Guynn, who reported poll results, provided comments from some respondents:

When Lisa Tecarr, 49, from Zephyrhills, Fla., says she does 90% of her shopping online. When ordering diapers for her grandkids or treats and toys for her dog, she uses prepaid cards instead of a credit card.

“I just think it’s safer,” said Tecarr, a childcare provider and student at Grace Bible College.

Yolanda Machado, a blogger and freelance writer from Los Angeles who shops for everything but groceries online, says she has made a habit of changing her passwords every few weeks and never stores her credit card information even on websites she shops frequently.

“If you put something on the Internet, you might as well be putting it on a billboard,” Machado, 35, said. “Nothing is ever secure. You have to take active measures to ensure your own security.”

Machado says her less tech savvy friends were “pretty much flipping out” over recent security breaches. She advised them just to be more cautious.

“I mean, at Christmas, chances of being robbed are increased, but do we leave our purses and wallets at home? No. We just do things like shop in pairs, in lit areas etc. So we have to change our passwords and actually be on top of our accounts, I’m OK with that.”

Are people being more careful?

Fifty-five percent of respondents said they were now checking banking, investment and credit card sites more often for signs of tampering.

Security expert Cameron Camp questioned the accuracy of these responses, especially in the long term. “It’s kind of like being on a diet,” Camp said. “You’re on good behavior for awhile and then you return to whatever you were doing before.”

Education and buying online

People with less education and lower-incomes were more likely to stop buying online. Those with more education and higher incomes were more likely to have changed passwords and cut back on the sites they use.

Thirty percent of people with no college education stopped buying online entirely, compared to 16 percent of those with college degrees.

Sixty-six percent of respondents with college degrees changed their passwords compared to 56 percent with no college.

Income level and buying online

Thirty-four percent of those earning less than $30,000 stopped buying online compared to 15 percent with incomes of $75,000 or more.

Seventy-three percent of those making $75,000 or more changed their passwords whereas 55 percent earning less than $30,000 had.

Sex and age factors

Men were more likely to have changed passwords than women, 69 percent to 59 percent and seniors at 47 percent were least likely to have changed their passwords.

By ThreatMetrix Posted