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There has been a lot in the news lately about major corporations being hacked and consumers information becoming compromised. The Home Depot is the most recent one. Target is another example of a major corporation with compromised consumer data. The Home Depot has been hit twice in the last year alone! Millions of people use these companies, and the damage can be devastating for the consumer and the business. I, personally, have had my debit card disabled twice because of these two companies. I didn't lose any money. But it was a huge inconvenience.
What can you, the consumer, do when your information has been compromised by a business you use? (From Privacyrights.org) First, a security breach doesn't necessarily mean you'll be a victim of identity theft. Your first step is to figure out what type of breach has occurred. That will help you determine the action that you need to take. The four major types of breaches are:
Click on the link above to see what action you should take to protect yourself in each of these situations.
What can you do to help minimize the impact a breach has on your information? When the breach involves your credit or debit card, there isn't much you can do ahead of time to help lower the impact. You can swipe your card as a credit transaction instead of a debit transaction to help reduce the chance of your PIN being compromised. Or, you can just use cash everywhere you shop. And when your account information is involved, there are three things you can do. First is, don't use the same password more than once. Second, never use the same password more than once. And lastly, don't ever use the same password more than once! If you have a standard password that you use at every site you create an account on, you are asking for trouble if one of those sites is ever compromised and your password is leaked. One of my recommendations is a program called LastPass. LastPass is a highly secure password manager. With it, you can generate a completely random password for each site you create an account on. It will securely remember the password, and you never even need to know what it is. It can be used on your PC, tablet, or phone, and it's compatible with just about every available browser. If a site is ever compromised, the hackers will not be able to use the information they have on you at other sites.
There is also a site called Have I been Pwned. The site will check your email address to see if you've been "Pwned", (a techy way of saying that you've been "owned" and that it's time to change your password). If it finds your email address, it will give you more information about what was compromised, and where and when it happened. It's a very handy site. The site also has the ability to notify you if your email address is involved in any future breaches.
Most of all, don't panic. Generally, if you notice fraud, you're going to be protected. Just report it immediately. You may be inconvenienced, like I was with the two debit cards that were disabled automatically as a result of breaches, but in the end, your only loss will be time.
Hi! I'm Ronnie, your PC Tech for Hire for the Montgomery, AL area! Let me know if you need my 25+ years of experience to help you with your computer needs.