Just as the holiday shopping season shifted into high gear, Target, the large Minneapolis retail store, reported about 40 million credit and debit card accounts were hacked.
Customers who bought things in its U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may affected. Stolen info includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes on the backs of cards. The data breach did not affect online purchases.
This is only the latest of many recent hacks. With customer data breaches becoming increasingly common, what should you do to protect yourself? Start with our tips below:
Protecting Yourself from Hacking:
The best way to safeguard your personal information is by creating strong passwords (see Microsoft’s tips here) and using a unique password for each website.
What to Do After a Hack:
It happens. Even the most conscientious businesses get hacked. If a company with which you’ve done business suffered a security breach, follow the tips below to protect yourself.
- Change your password on the affected website — and anywhere else you use it. Many web users have a rotation of passwords they use, so be sure to change yours on all websites.
- Be extra suspicious of any emails coming from the business that was hacked — especially ones containing links or attachments. Scammers often use the personal information they’ve obtained along with the hacked business’ name to trick customers into sharing credit card or banking info.
- However, affected business do often communicate with customers after the hack. Be sure these emails are real by hovering over the links in the message. When you do this, the link destination should appear in a pop up box or in the lower left hand corner of your browser.
- Keep a close eye on your credit card and bank accounts. If hackers have access to your personal data, identity theft is a risk. Call your bank or credit card company immediately if you see any unexpected activity.