What to Know About Retail Security Breaches
Neiman Marcus and Target Corp. were not the only United States retailers who were hit with security breaches during the holiday shopping season, according to a Huffington Post article published last week.
The article stated that approximately three other well-known smaller U.S. retailers experienced breaches as well, using the same techniques as the ones used against Target. An investigation discovered that approximately 110 million shoppers’ information was compromised during the Target breach and 70 million from Neiman Marcus. Information included addresses, phone numbers, names, telephone numbers, and email addresses.
As officials continue to investigate the string of breaches, shoppers are becoming more hesitant about using their credit cards. What many don’t realize, however, is that incidences of Identity Theft have been growing for years. In 2012 alone, one in every 14 Americans over the age of 16 fell victim to some form of identity theft, resulting in financial losses of $24.7 billion, according to a 2012 U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics survey.
While there is no way to completely shield yourself from retail security breaches (other than completely avoiding shopping), you should be aware of some things. For one, those affected in a security breach may not realize it right away. It could be years before you notice anything out of the ordinary on your credit report, which is just another reason why you should keep a close eye on your financials.
Secondly, don’t fall for any emails requesting your financial information. During the Target breach, many received empathetic emails requesting personal information, pretending to help victims recovering from the breach. These have been characterized as phishing scams — an email scam used to obtain information that could lead to an additional case of identity theft.
For those who were victims of the Target breach, the corporation has arranged for free credit monitoring and other help to assist you in overcoming this situation.