An Empirical Investigation of the Effects of Individuality on Responses to Data Theft Crimes

Joseph C. Miller, St. Ambrose University
John N. Angelis, Elizabethtown College


E-commerce transactions have been rapidly increasing (over 20% from 2016 to 2017), and in addition the number of data thefts has been increasing. Data thefts cause a loss of trust by the customer, but previous research has failed to identify how such events change customer perceptions and also influence future shopping behavior. Our survey of 400 individuals provides insight into how the individuality of the crime victims (targeting of a few named individuals or a large customer database) has strong effects. Specifically, respondents were more likely to blame the victims and less likely to blame the business if a few individuals were targeted. Blaming the business and the individuality of the crime did have a significant effect on revisiting the business. However, blaming the victims did not have a significant effect on revisiting.