As I sat in my easy chair, holiday shopping had just become easy as well! I peered over my glasses to watch the Breaking News flash across the television, just after I had just clicked on the 6th site from which I was buying presents for the family. It read “Massive breach” just announced on ‘the shoppers network.’ ALL, virtually ALL, patrons who had made purchases over the past 30-days had ALL of their Personal Identifiable Information (PII) compromised. Dramatization, yes but, millions and millions of citizens have been breached in the past 11 months. It is the greatest number of citizens that have had their SSN, DoB, Credit Card information and much more. So, what to do?
So, now that we have your interest, it should be known that many people are part of a breach each day, yet that feel little effect on their daily habits. In fact, this is part of the problem, The Credit Card Companies cover your losses or purchases that you confirm you have not made and we all continue to maintain our behaviors – as imperfect as they are. What you should be doing is:
1) Change your passwords for the holiday season and again after the first of the year
2) Use a specific credit card, not debit, for your shopping – online or in person. Ensure it is not associated with your other financial instruments.
3) Careful what you click on – if it appears to be ‘too good to be true,’ it is!
4) Unless you are planning on making a really large purchase, like a car, home, boat, place a credit freeze with the three-credit bureaus. It is $10 to freeze your account for each service bureau and another $10 to unfreeze them when you wish to have them activated again. I’d “negotiate” with Equifax and see if I could get a discount!