Today, businesses are collecting more information about customers than ever before. Unfortunately, this sheer volume of data is a tempting target for thieves, which explains why breaches are often in the news. Thieves are targeting everything from small businesses to global giants, then selling personal and financial information to the highest bidder via darker corners of the web.
Generally, breaches are not something we as consumers can control. But there are ways to make it harder for thieves to get ahold of and use your personal and financial data.
Ways to protect yourself.
• Be careful letting companies store your credit card information. Only allow ones you know, trust and use frequently.
• When you shop, use a credit card whenever possible, rather than a debit card. You may be less liable for fraudulent charges.
• Create strong and unique passwords, for each site you use, and change them often. Don't use words thieves could easily guess, like birthdays, kids' names, or addresses. Random letters, numbers and special characters add considerable security.
• If you find it hard to keep track of multiple passwords, consider a password manager such as Dashlane.
• Check your credit card and bank statements regularly to watch for problems.
If you're a victim of a breach.
• If you receive a notice about a breach, contact the company to confirm it's real.
• Contact each credit card company to set up fraud alerts. Ask about freezing your accounts if necessary.
• The Social Security Administration suggests you contact them immediately if you think someone is using your number for any reason, such as applying for credit or a job. You can review your Social Security Statement to check for suspicious activity.
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