Target Chairman and CEO Gregg Steinhafel says Target Corp plans to make “significant changes” in light of the data breach over the holiday shopping season when hackers stole personal information of millions of customers.
In an interview to CNBC, Target’s top officials says the corporations has tried to be transparent about the data breach and has posted some tips to guard against future breaches. Change your PIN numbers, get credit card issues to move to the EMV Standard, and get financial institutions to recognize the credit card system vulnerability.
Target said on Jan. 10 an investigation found that hackers stole the personal information of at least 70 million customers, including names, mailing addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses. Previously, the No. 3 U.S. retailer said the hackers stole data from 40 million credit and debit cards.
Target officials have also reached out to the National Cyber Security Alliance (which developed the “Stop. Think. Connect.” campaign) and the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance. Council of Better Business Bureaus has previously partnered with NCSA on educational events.
Target wants to “turn adversity to opportunity” through public awareness and consumer education on the risk of cyber-threats and the best practices for consumers to protect their personal information and identity. Steinhafel says the company has proposed generous funding to underwrite costs and develop resources for a sustained, multi-year campaign.
As part of an initiative to help consumers protect themselves from identity theft, BBB serving Snake River Region offers seven ways consumers can protect their credit and debit cards.
1. Only Carry The Cards You Need. Only carry the essential cards that you need every day. Many consumers carry every credit/debit card they have, yet few of these cards get daily use. The risk of a lost or stolen card is reduced if unused cards are left at home.
2. Cancel Unused Cards. Consumers with one or more unused credit cards should consider cancelling the by contacting the issuing financial institution in writing. Once cancelled, the consumer should cut the card(s) into small strips or shred before disposing.
3. Do Not Write Personal Identification Numbers on the Back of Credit/Debit Cards. Consumers should never write their personal identification number on the back of their credit or debit card. Also, BBB recommends that consumers never write the PIN on a sheet of paper and carry it in a wallet or purse.
4. Write “Check Photo ID” on the Back of All Cards. Instead of signing the back of a credit/debit card, write “check photo id” in the signature block. Many banks now issue credit/debit cards that display a consumer’s photograph on the front. If this is an available option, BBB recommends taking advantage of this opportunity. Both of these practices make it more difficult for a thief to use your card in person.
5. Check Credit Card Bills and Bank Statements Carefully Every Month. Consumers should check their credit card bills and bank statements carefully every month, looking for activity that is not recognized. Many banks now offer online banking services, allowing consumers to check transactions even more often. The quicker a problem is recognized, the more the damage can be limited.
6. Make Copies of All Credit/Debit Cards. Consumers should make copies of the front and back of all of their credit and debit cards, and then place the copies in a secure place. If cards are stolen or lost, consumers will have all the relevant information that they need to contact the card issuers and report the lost or stolen items. This will also help limit the damage.
7. Remain Wary of “Pre-Approved Credit” Offers. A good deal of stolen personal information comes from “pre-approved credit” offers consumers receive in the mail, and then discard unopened. This allows a thief to use the application to apply for credit in the consumer’s name. The three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) offer a single telephone number through which consumers can opt out of future “pre-approved credit” offers. Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) for more information.
Consumers should be aware that, as convenient as they are, credit and debit cards can pose a serious risk if lost or stolen. Taking simple steps to protect themselves can cut these risks.