January 28, 2014
By now almost everyone has heard about the theft of credit card numbers as a result of the data breach at Target, Neiman Marcus, and possibly others, such as Michaelâ€™s, etc. However, in addition to the credit card numbers, other data was stolen as well: names, mailing addresses, email addresses or phone numbers.
My wife shopped at Target before Christmas and once we heard about the hacking of the data we took pre-emptive action. We immediately called our credit card company and had a new card issued. The possible dollar loss was not the issue because most credit card companies will not hold you liable.
Here is the biggest problem: Many people today shop with debit cards or combination credit/debit cards. Debit cards that can be used at stores without a PIN give thieves direct access to your bank account. So if you have a debit card that can be used without a PIN number replace it immediately. ONLY use a debit card which needs a PIN number for access (such as ATM debit cards). Do not use combination credit/debit cards which only require a signature to make a purchase â€“ there is too much risk!
Be especially alert to â€śphishingâ€ť schemes where hackers send you email or text messages which appear to be sent by Target or Verizon or some other reputable company asking you for personal information. Never send personal information via email. This is how many identities are stolen.
In the next few years credit card companies will update their technologies and issue new cards embedded with chips and requiring PIN numbers with each use, but we are not there yet.
So here is what you should do NOW!
If you have any questions about any of these issues, please call our office.
Edward J. Kohlhepp, CFPÂ®, ChFC, CLU, CPC, MSPA
Edward J. Kohlhepp, Jr., CFPÂ®, MBA
Please contact us whenever there are any changes to your financial situation, personal situation or investment objectives.