When we lived in the Netherlands, we would always something called “Chipknip” to pay at stores. Instead of sliding our card through a magnetized reader, we would simply insert our card which had an embedded chip into the machine. This chip was like a mini-processor that would tack on a different code for each usage, lessening chances of fraud. We would then put in our personal PIN code, remove the card, and be on our way.
Sound familiar? This is the same system that’s coming here and it’s needed badly. More and more large retailers are reporting security breaches with their payment systems. Have you heard about the latest one at Home Depot? That’s especially scary as some people spend tons of money there and much of it is linked to larger business accounts. Why? Notice this statement from LifeLock:
A data breach occurs when confidential information, like your Social Security number, credit card number or health information, is exposed or accessed by an unauthorized person. Studies show that individuals who receive a data breach notification letter are more than four times as likely to become victims of identity theft.
Crazy, right? Instead of stopping your shopping trips to retailers all together, there are ways you can protect yourself and your family from suffering from such data breaches.
Tips from LifeLock: Potential Data Breach
Here are some tips that LifeLock shared after the news of a potential breach at Home Depot:
- Monitor your transactions:
Keep an eye on the activity on your credit and debit card accounts, looking for any charges that don’t seem to be yours.
- Report suspicious transactions immediately:
If you see a card transaction—even a small one—that doesn’t look right, contact the card issuer immediately. The phone number is on the back of your card.
- Order a new debit card:
If you believe your debit card number was compromised, don’t wait for fraudulent charges to start appearing on your statement. Request a new card from your bank. This way, you reduce the chances of a criminal depleting your bank account, and you avoid potential challenges in recovering your funds. Credit cards offer more protection and less risk because funds are not directly withdrawn from your bank account as they are with a debit card.
- Follow the story:
Investigation of this crime is still under way. Watch for news and communication from Home Depot.
Consider using an identity protection service: LifeLock provides identity protection products and services you can count on. In fact, with LifeLock Advantage™ and LifeLock Ultimate Plus™, we can help you detect fraudulent activity with alerts for cash withdrawals, balance transfers and large purchases within our extensive network.
Whichever LifeLock plan you decide is best for your needs, use the promo code “breachwatch” to save 10% off your purchase of any plan on the LifeLock site. Having LifeLock Ultimate has given me a ton of peace of mind and I know it will do the same for you. One of our credit cards was just replaced with one having an embedded chip but companies are not yet set up to take those. In the meantime, it’s good to know that I have a company looking after the health of my credit and alerting me to any potential identity threats.
How do you react when a retailer you frequent announces a potential data breach?