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Data theft not deterring Americans from using credit cards: Ipsos/Reuters poll

A woman carrying shopping bags enter a shopping store advertising sales in New York, December 24, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford
A woman carrying shopping bags enter a shopping store advertising sales in New York, December 24, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

By Dhanya Skariachan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Most Americans have been victims of data theft, but that hasn't stopped them from using credit cards and social media sites or shopping online, according to a poll released on Monday.

One in three Americans surveyed said they have seen fraudulent charges appear on a debit or credit card, and a quarter have had their email hacked, according to the Ipsos/Reuters poll of 8,308 Americans.

More than a fifth said they have been told by a company or service provider that their financial information had been compromised, while about 14 percent have seen a social media account hacked. Only 38 percent of Americans have never had personal data stolen, the poll found.

About 64 percent of the data theft victims said the experience had not deterred them from using their credit or debit cards, and 63 percent continued to shop online. More than half said they did not start paying for things with cash after a data theft.

The survey findings come at a time when retailers from Target Corp to Neiman Marcus are yet to fully understand how hackers managed to steal payment card data of million of shoppers last year.

The poll was conducted from January 2-27, just weeks after the massive data breach at Target that resulted in the theft of about 40 million credit and debit card records and 70 million other records with customer information such as addresses and telephone numbers.

More than two thirds of the Target shoppers who were part of the survey sample said the recent data breach had not affected their shopping at Target, the third-largest U.S. retailer. Target was not available for comment.

The incidents have raised the stakes for data security discussions in Congress and have caused banks and retailers to argue about whose job it is to protect consumers from cyber attacks.

On Monday, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau urged shoppers to monitor their accounts for unauthorized charges and alert their bank or card provider immediately if they suspect fraud. The agency also urged people to not fall victim to "phishing" scams that involves hackers asking for personal information via email or by phone.

(Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan; Editing by Jilian Mincer and Leslie Adler)

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