Top four tips that will help you after your credit card is hacked

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If your one of the 110 million victims don’t worry I have four suggestions that will benefit financially:

1) Check your statement. It may seem obvious, but the first step you should take is looking for any charges you don’t recognize on your statement.

Don’t just look for large charges, either. Hackers often ping an account with micro payments of only a few cents to check the viability of the account. So if you see purchases of 6 cents or 11 cents, that could be a sign your information has been compromised.

 

2) Call your credit card company, bank and Target. Credit card companies generally offer customers fraud monitoring services at no cost, and customers aren’t on the hook for any fraudulent charges. Typically, the card issuer or the merchant is responsible for those costs.

But don’t wait for your card company or bank to call you. Let them know you’ve shopped at Target recently. All you have to do is call the number on the back of your card.

Target has also set up a phone line for customers who suspect there has been unauthorized activity on their accounts. Shoppers can call 866-852-8680.

Hacking your credit card as you shop

3) Replace your credit card, change your PIN. If the bank didn’t already do this for you, do it yourself. This will put an end to any more fake charges.

Once you receive your replacement card, make sure to update your new card information with any companies that have your account on file for automatic payments or monthly fees, like your Apple (AAPLFortune 500) iTunes account or cable provider.

4) Sign up for a fraud monitoring service. If you’re concerned about credit card theft going forward, LifeLock and other similar threat detection services claim that they can monitor your card activities and alert you when your account has gotten into the wrong hands. Most credit card companies offer similar services for free, but threat detection services say they go above and beyond, including offering protection of credit card information on the Internet and even lost-wallet insurance.

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Hack of the week

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Its been a drastic year for hacking, but this is by far one of the worst data preach in a decade:

Target’s disclosure that credit card thieves hacked a database of 70 million customers is a wake-up call. “It’s like an arms race for consumers’ information at this point,” said Susan Grant, an advocate for the Consumer Federation of America. It’s become standard for many retailers to ask for personal details at checkout. Then there’s online shopping, in which you have to turn over certain info. Among other things, stores want the information so they can shower you with catalogs and emails.

So my suggestion is to think twice before using any card whose magnetic stripe is not encrypted. Which includes Visa, Mastercard, Discover and other card companies:

The problem is that you are trusting the stores to safeguard it. Criminals who steal your credit or debit card information can do more damage if they have your contact information. It’s easier for them to commit fraud or even trick you into revealing more via fake emails, letters and phone calls.

Your information is “toxic” if it gets in the wrong hands, said Rob Shavell, CEO of Abine, a company whose software enhances privacy while shopping. “The more of it they store, the more it becomes a danger to the consumer and the business.”

The idea behind Abine shows just how far wholesale data collection has gone. The service lets you create a shopping avatar — with its own new phone number, address and credit card — to create more distance between you and the retailer

Today’s data breach doesn’t necessarily mean that thieves can gain access to customers’ bank or credit card accounts. But it does put them at greater risk for identity theft. There is also a risk that thieves can use the information to try to create new accounts in a customer’s name.

The Fear of getting hacked

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This year if you  just signed up on Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Skype or other online websites or had it before 2014 you should be careful what you say or store on the internet.

Hackers posted a database containing 4.6 million names and phone numbers of Snapchat users and compromised the social media accounts of Internet calling service Skype in two apparently unrelated attacks.

You never know whose  watching