It’s your day off, and you’re out picking up some groceries at WalMart. After the cashier is finished ringing you up, you pull out your AMEX and swipe to pay without thinking twice.
On the way home you stop by Target to pick up that rug that you’ve been eyeing up for the past few months. (You’ve been told it would really tie the room together.) This time you swipe your VISA bank card to pay.
What you’re not thinking about is how WalMart and Target have your personal information tucked away in their databases, potentially putting your personal information at risk in the event of a data breach.
Internet Heists Are Real
You’ve seen the movies where a group of gangsters team up to knock off a jewelry store, only to escape in their getaway car just seconds before police can apprehend them. Data breaches are not much different. The gangsters are hackers, the diamonds are your personal information, and the getaway car is the internet. In a technology driven world, it is becoming easier every day for hackers and Identity thieves to get their hands on your personal information.
Last December we received a rude awakening when it was made public that Target had a massive data breach, potentially compromising more than 40 million customer’s credit and debit accounts. Since then, there have been major data breaches almost every month. Those data breaches include: Michaels Stores, The Home Depot, Sally Beauty Supply, eBay, AOL, P.F. Chang’s, and most recently JP Morgan Chase. In 2013 alone, there were more than 600 data breaches, costing the USA over $100 billion dollars.
Protect Yourself Against Data Breaches
By now you’re probably thinking “This seems hopeless, What can I do to protect myself?”. Nearly one fifth of Americans suffer from data breach attacks. All is not lost, there ARE ways to protect yourself!
- Check Your Accounts Often: The sooner you realize there’s a problem, the better. It is ideal to check all your credit and bank accounts daily. Make sure everything is in order and there’s no suspicious activity.
- Change pins/passwords: By constantly changing your pins and passwords, you are staying one step ahead of hackers. If a data breach occurs and they have your outdated password or pin, they will not be able to access your accounts.
- Use Gift Cards/Prepaid Cards: Another great way to stay ahead of the game is to use gift cards or prepaid credit cards. This way you can swipe away without having to worry about any personal information being compromised.
- Use Cash: Cash is king! We lost that long ago. Cash is untraceable and accepted almost everywhere.
- Call Better Qualified: We can help protect you against Identity Theft. Go to www.BQ911.com and sign up for our credit monitoring service, or call us at (888) 533-8138. We’ll go over your credit report with you and make sure you don’t have any fraudulent activity on it.
For more information on data breaches, watch me on CBS here: