These past couple of weeks, there were reports of a credit card data breach from Target’s stores. People going out doing their Christmas shopping only to find that the data on the charge cards was being stolen electronically. It’s easy to blame Target for some laps in security. It’s because we expect the stores we do business with will protect the data that we provide. Even the bad guys that hide in the shadows breaking into computer installations puts fear in the general public. Now the event is in the past. What do we do to make sure that the damage from such a theft is minimized. Stop me if you heard any of these before.
- Keep your receipts. It’s the best way to track your purchases and pick out transactions that you didn’t make.
- Contact your credit card companies and banks to sign up for fraud protection. Many of them offer this feature by default. They will call you if your card is used for transactions that are out of the norm for you.
- Make sure that you have online access to your accounts. This way you can get a real time accounting of your buying. Now I know what your thinking. Doesn’t this put your banking and credit card information on the web. Actually, it’s already there. Getting online access just gives you the right to look at them. Waiting to review your monthly statements can make it harder for the good guys to help you.
- Once you have received, or maybe you already have your online access, start looking over your transactions. Compare your saved receipts with the activity in your accounts. If you see something that can not be explained, notify that institution right away.
- It’s good to get a copy of your credit report. Keep in mind that it’s only a summary of your financial and credit activity. This summary is only updated from 1 month or greater. For what you should be looking for, this may not be the best way of auditing your transactions.
You can’t see the bad guys. The ones that want to make profit from stolen data. It’s hard for the general public to prevent such a crime. Using these techniques to watch over any purchases that are made against your account, you can stop from being a victim.