Eight Simple Ways to Protect Yourself

I’m sure that by now you have heard that yet another giant department store is reporting that they too have been hacked for precious credit card information.

Nieman Marcus has reported that they too have been “hacked” and that they believe very sensitive credit card information has been lost. They have yet to determine exactly how much. Nevertheless, you can bet that the information will trickle out to minimize the pain of having to admit they failed their customers. Much like Target that initially admitted that they were hacked for 40 million bits of information, to now that they have lost at least 110 million pieces of data…thank you!

Consider this information, we are a country of just over 313 million people and 110 million may have had their information compromised that amounts 1 in 3 people. Remember the old saying “Look to your left, then look to your right, if neither of them is the one, then it’s you” So what can you do to make sure when it happens, that you are fully prepared to defend yourself?

Well I offer you eight ways to help defend yourself:

Phishing -this is when someone online tries to get you to give him or her, your personal data. Never give out information to a web site or person that you don’t know.

Transactional Theft – this usually happens when you make a legitimate purchase. You hand your card over to a cashier or some other person that swipes your card and they fail to give you back the carbon copy, or you notice that the information doesn’t immediately go into the register.

Bank Statements – do you leave these out in plain sight around your home? All it takes is one person to take a carelessly left in plain view statement, and your bank account is now compromised

Mail Theft – how many of us actually have secured mailboxes? Do you have one that sits on the main road and can opened and searched by anyone that wants to take what has been delivered to your home? This is a frequent easy target for someone trying to obtain credit cards, bank statements, brokerage statements, or any other information that can used to gain control of your assets.

Cold Calling – you would be shocked at how many times a person acting as a legitimate businessperson calls someone on the phone and obtains sensitive information just for the asking. If you didn’t call them then NEVER give out sensitive information to someone that calls you. Tell them that you will call the company back, and do so, but not to a telephone number that they provide.

Trash diving – you might think that this impossible or even silly. Do you put your trash out the night before pick up? Do you shred every bit of the sensitive information that you throw away? Bank statements, credit card statements, are easily found in many trash containers, don’t let yours be next.

PINs & SSN numbers – How many PIN numbers, passwords and other pieces of sensitive data do we use each day. We must be especially protective of these bits of information, as any of these are a veritable gold mine for an ID thief.