If there was one thing that consumers found out from Target’s data breach, it is that their credit card information was not as secure as they thought it was. Even when a large company has been hit by a hacker, there are still steps that you can take to protect yourself. In fact, there are things you need to be aware of even without an event like Target’s hacking issue.
Monitoring your credit is not enough
Too often people are looking for problems on their credit report that can make their credit rating worse, but the bigger problem of charges to a credit card will not be found on a credit report. Consumers need to check their credit card charges at least once a week and ideally twice a week for charges that were not made.
A debit card is just as vulnerable
Having your debit card information stolen can mean having your bank account emptied. A pin number is insufficient protection because a debit card can be used as a credit card to charge for merchandise. It is true that a thief will not be able to get cash out of an ATM machines without a pin number, but the card can still be used to buy merchandise. However, pin numbers can still be stolen electronically just as card numbers are.
Credit cards offer better protection than debit cards
Many credit cards limit your financial responsibility to as little as $50. Banks that issue debit cards that are tied to your checking accounts are not always as generous, and victims of identity theft can find this out the hard way.
Consumers have rights
One bright side to the Target incident is that consumers have found out they have rights. When you use you debit or credit card at a retail store, you have certain expectation of privacy when using your credit or debit card. When there is a breach of security, a retailer shoulders much of the responsibility. For more information on your rights, ask Ronald Dinan & Associates about identity theft to help you get your life back on track.
The problem of identity theft is growing
Consumers have learned that Target was not the first company to have this type of security breach, and they will not be the last. As security increases so does the innovative technology of hackers.
Your first line of defense against identity theft is yourself. You need to take the proper steps to minimize the chances of having your information stolen, but you need to be aware that it can happen to anyone and keep a daily check on your credit and debit card balances.