By now many of you I’m sure have heard about the breach of credit card information by hackers who infiltrated the information data-bases of Target and Neiman Marcus (or Needless Markup as my wife likes to call them) and may be wondering just how to protect your financial information.
What is interesting about these data thefts is not so much that yet another one or two occurred but that these types of information breaches are happening regularly and many times the companies either don’t tell us about them or wait until a better time to tell us so we don’t stop shopping at a their stores.
For example, Stacey Vanek Smith of Market Place Business reported that Neiman Marcus knew about the data breach in mid-December but only announced it after the Holiday shopping season was over. And Target didn’t tell the entire story until several days later and even then seemed to manage the information it did release. Often such announcements are made on slow news days in order to minimize the impact.
Use of credit cards and debit cards is so common, we rarely use cash at all. So, what should you do to protect your date from these on-going breaches that are happening on a regular basis? Pay with cash only? Probably not.
How to protect your financial information.
You simply cannot control the data once you provide it to a retailer but what you can do is make your data un-useable if it is stolen. Perhaps one good idea might be to regularly change your credit card numbers by calling your credit card provider and telling them you lost your card. They will take immediate action to in-activate the old number and provide you with a new one right away. At the same time, any charges that come on that card will not be charged to you since you reported the card as lost.
This can be a bit of an inconvenience but it will be effective.
Let me know if you have any good ideas to protect your financial information.