As there are indications that Target’s US retail chain is not the only one to have become a victim of cyber criminals stealing credit/debit card data and other personal info, but that several more retailers are likely to be named in the near future, we’re offering Irish shoppers some preventive advice on keeping safe.
As the Big Retail Rip-off continues to unfold, and we learn that the address information for some shoppers has also been stolen, ESET Ireland is offering some tips on how to defend your accounts and your identity.
Check your account for suspicious activity
If you use your credit or debit card at any retailers last year you should preventively check your accounts. Check your statements for fraudulent transactions. Criminals are likely to hang on to data and use it after attention has died off, so this is something you should continue to do for the foreseeable future.
Ask for a replacement debit/credit card
If you would rather not take the time to continually monitor your card, you may wish to ask for a replacement card periodically. Remember, if you have any auto-pay accounts that reference this account number, you will need to update that information when the replacement card is activated.
Change your debit PIN
If the card that you use is a debit card, you should occasionally change your PIN. Criminals are actively working to crack the encryption used to protect this information, and many people use weak PINs that are easy to guess.
Change your online shopping passwords
There is no indication yet that online stores were impacted by this latest round of cyber-crimes, but the forensic investigation of these incidents is not complete. As a precaution, it is a good idea to change your passwords, making sure they are hard-to-guess and unique to each account.
Beware of scams
Criminals may now have access to more information about customers than just card data. So they are now more likely to use this data to send scam or phishing emails. Be sure not to click on links in emails purporting to come from businesses or shops using this angle, especially if they appear suspicious in any way.
No security measures are ever 100% safe, so it is also your own responsibility to be cautious with your cards as you would be with your wallet. Rather than being sorry later, whenever you are unsure of anything card-related, it’s always safer to ring your bank and ask for security advice.