It’s been ALL over the news the past few days, and it’s pretty scary. If you haven’t heard, Target® recently announced that if you paid with a credit or debit card in any of their U.S. stores between November 27, 2013 and December 15, 2013, it was electronically compromised. This means that if you used your debit or credit card at Target during those dates, you may be one of the 40 million people whose name and credit/debit card information was stolen from them. This information includes your debit/credit card number, expiration date, the CVV three-digit security code found on the back of the card and the PIN (if it was used in the transaction.) If you've shopped at Target during these times, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE check your transaction history and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get a new debit/credit card.
What could a person do with the information of a compromised card? They can just, pretty much, drain your bank account, or at least put a really good dent into it. It’s really scary that something like this could happen, especially because you would NEVER ever expect it.
Sometimes these sorts of things are unpredictable, no one would have guessed that paying with a debit/credit card at Target would put an account at risk, but it did. This is just a reminder to keep your eyes on your account! We’ve got to be proactive and take advantage of online/mobile banking, and check our recent transactions. If something doesn’t add up or doesn’t make sense, we need to call our banks or financial institutions to see what’s going on. Ignorance simply isn’t bliss.
Though no one would have expected debit/credit card information to be compromised at Target, there are things we can proactively do to protect ourselves and our bank accounts. Other than just checking up on our transactions, you can also:
- Set your browser to the highest security setting; check in the preferences menu.
- If you haven’t received any mail for a while, check with the post office to make sure a fraudulent change of address form hasn't been submitted.
- Leave your Social Security card at home unless you need it that day.
- Really DO conceal your PIN-punching fingers by using your other hand as a shield. It’s not just for the person behind you, but also for illicit video cameras that could be recording your movements.
- Invest in software that blocks “malware” and online viruses.
- Clear your web browser’s cookies and cache regularly if you bank or apply for loans online.
- Shred any mail with your name and address on it; don’t leave it for someone to find.
For more tips, check out the Living Young & Free Field Guide on identity theft.
What I’m really trying to say here is: stay safe. We can’t control everything, but we should stay proactive, aware, and make sure we keep our accounts protected.
Until next time,