As loyal readers know, I take this identity theft stuff pretty seriously, having been hacked a couple of times in the pass few years.
We rarely shop at Target.
Nothing against the place, just no reason to shop there.
So, wouldn’t you know it … a rare shopping trip to Target during the recent hacking of all credit & debit card numbers.
Here are a couple of observations and some advice …
First, the advice: if you used your credit or debit card at Target during the hacked period, call your credit card company and have them issue a new card … sooner, not later.
Don’t be lulled by the fact that you may not have any strange charges to your account yet … these plots take a while to hatch to fruition.
Also, don’t be lulled by the promises that either the credit card companies or Target will make you whole on any fraudulent charges.
Even if that’s true, you’ll be spending a lot of time documenting issues and chasing after the companies for your credits.
Sure, it’s a hassle to cut up your current card, wait a couple of days to get your new card, and change your stored credit card number on your online accounts and auto-billed subscriptions.
But, trust me, it’s a lot less hassle than trying to unravel a bunch of fraudulent charges.
In fact, tech guys that I respect recommend “losing” your credit cards at least once a year. That is, claiming that you lost your cards just so the credit card companies send you new cards with new numbers. That way, you reset the system against prior hackers who may be lying in wait.
Consider your Target replacement as this year’s lost card.
It’s good security.
Now, the observations …
- Remember Target was one of the companies crowing about their computer sophistication – you know, the predictive analytics stuff.
- What a mess for Target during their key selling season. I sure won’t be swiping my credit card there any time soon … not even for a 10% discount
- 40 million is a lot of card numbers floating around the black market
- Costs to credit card companies are huge … AMEX told me about half of the folks calling in are requesting new cards … I figure that it costs AMEX at least $25 to make and ship a new card and change the account settings … think about it: 1/2 of 40 million accounts = 20 million times $25 = $500 million – just to issue new cards … ouch.
If that doesn’t shake you, imagine if a government system (say, ObamaCare) gets hacked … spewing 300 million names, addresses, ages and social security