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Sears Joins Growing List of Retailers Managing a Data Breach

Sears Holdings is the latest retailer to be caught in a data breach.

The retail group, which operates Sears and Kmart, announced Wednesday that the credit card information for up to 100,000 customers may have been exposed by [24]7.ai, a third-party service provider.

The customers at risk are those who shopped one of the two chains between September 27 and October 12 last year. In a statement, Sears said shoppers who used store credit cards were not affected. Similarly, those customers who visited stores in person should not be impacted either.

“As soon as [24]7.ai informed us in mid-March 2018, we immediately notified the credit card companies to prevent potential fraud, and launched a thorough investigation with federal law enforcement authorities, our banking partners, and IT security firms,” the company said on its blog. “[24]7.ai has assured us that their systems are now secure.”

In the post, Sears also affirmed that it takes every effort to protect customers’ information.

The chains are just the latest to experience data breach issues. Under Armour, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor are among the retailers dealing with similar situations.

Even before this slate of issues, breaches like this had already prompted some consumers to worry about their exposure when shopping online.

Just under 50 percent of the 24,000 people polled in the worldwide 2017 CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust said they don’t trust shopping online. Of those who are concerned about their privacy, 82 percent said they worry about cyber criminals, 74 percent fret over internet companies and 67 percent are mistrustful of other internet users.

Further, the 2017 State of Consumer Privacy and Trust survey conducted on behalf of customer identity management firm Gigya found that 68 percent of the 4,000-plus people it polled in the U.S., Ireland and the U.K. were concerned about how brands use their personal information.

Gigya’s findings were consistent with those of Accenture, which surveyed consumers on the run up to the 2017 holidays. The findings revealed that 62 percent of shoppers had at least some misgivings about shopping online. As a result, 64 percent planned to stick with sites with which they were already familiar.