Monitor your credit; be careful which card you use
The recent announcement by Target was shocking news to the 40 million shoppers whose identity was stolen while swiping their credit or debit cards inside a Target store between November 17 and December 15, 2013.
Even with the many advances in technology, there is no guarantee that every single hacker around the world can be stopped from penetrating a system and stealing sensitive personal information. Preliminary reports say that hackers were able to steal the data from Target’s point-of-sale system.
What’s the damage? The least is that your card number is used by the hackers to make unauthorized purchases. The most serious is identity theft: stealing your name, address, and social security number to create credit cards to be sold on the black market anywhere in the world, file fake income tax returns, or file any other number of bogus documents.
What can you do to minimize the chances of having your personal information stolen?
Monitor your identity at all times. For a monthly fee, there are commercial services that will do this for you.
Use a credit card, not debit card, for all online and offline purchases. If a hacker obtains your debit card information, he can drain your bank account instantly. It usually takes the bank a long time to investigate the debit card occurrence and replenish your bank account. A credit card purchase can always be disputed and not paid until the dispute is resolved. Any unauthorized credit card purchases will be covered by the bank that issued your card without you being out a dime.
If you have suspicion of stolen information like in the Target case, call your credit card company and cancel your card. If a debit card is in question, call your bank immediately and put a freeze on your account.
If your identity is stolen
Hire an identity theft solutions company. These companies will help restore your identity to its original status and even provide insurance to cover all or part of the cost for restoring it.