If you haven’t heard yet, Home Depot and Jewel Osco have experienced security breaches in the past 30 days. Both stores are popular in Chicago, and have millions of visitors a year. So how do you know if your credit card information is vulnerable and how can you keep it safe in the future?
The Jewel Osco security breach came to public light on August 15, however the company believes that the breach may have started on June 22 and ended July 17. Although Jewel’s parent company, Supervalu, believes that no financial information was stolen, they do believe that account numbers, expiration dates, cardholders’ names and other information was accessed. In response, Jewel Osco is offering a free year of ID theft protection.
Home Depot, on the other hand, had a more recent security breach on September 2. Unfortunately, the cyber-attack was almost identical to the one that hit Target eight months ago, and security experts believe that the hackers could be from the same group. In an online statement, Home Depot explained that U.S. and Canadian stores were affected, and offered identity protection services to customers who were concerned about their financial information being at risk. The company also recommended that customers who shopped at the chain from April 2014 onward should closely monitor their transactions and report any suspicious activity to their bank.
Unfortunately, cyber-criminals are as active as ever. Hackers and phishers are constantly updating and creating new code and malware to attack companies’ syst.3
ems. If the company is unprepared or not sure what malware to expect, breaches occur. Although the responsibility ultimately falls on the company to keep its customers’ information safe, there are steps you can take to better protect your financial information from being stolen. Here are a few tips to help keep your credit cards safe:
Set up transaction notifications
By setting up transaction notifications, your bank will send you reminders whenever a transaction occurs. Along with helping you manage your funds, it will also keep you in the loop and aware if any suspicious activity occurs.
Use pre-paid credit cards for online purchases
Online shopping is convenient, but can put your credit card information at risk. To avoid this, purchase a pre-paid credit card with the amount of your planned purchase. That way, if there is an online security breach, the hackers won’t retrieve your main card’s information.
Be careful when entering your pin number
When you’re at an ATM, take note of who else is around. It may sound paranoid, but ATM thieves will devices on the machine to steal your card number and either record you entering your PIN or stand nearby and observe which numbers you use. It’s also important to have a secure PIN number, so choose a code that’s random and has no affiliation to say, your birthday.
Since data breaches and security concerns have been flooding the media, companies will no doubt continue to update their security but by following these tips your cards will be extra protected.