Online Staff Report
Consumers responding to a Better Business Bureau (BBB) survey about identity theft indicated their greatest concern was hackers breaking into a business database and stealing credit card numbers, foreshadowing the massive data breach that hit Target.
“Our recent survey results showed consumers’ concern to be all too real with the revelation of a hacking attack on Target,” explained Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford office of the BBB. “In today’s world, where credit is often easier to use than currency, consumers are often dependent upon the quality of business data security.
“This latest theft of credit card data shows that even the largest and most experienced companies can be vulnerable to hackers,” Horton noted. “While there are a limited number of precautions consumers can take to avoid this type of theft, they now must be extra vigilant in checking their credit card statements and credit reports.”
While the theft of credit card information from Target makes news because of its size, there continue to be everyday threats to your credit card security, explained the BBB president. Among these, he said the BBB survey showed that loss or theft of credit cards or IDs while shopping was the second most worrisome concern.
Use of credit cards for purchases made on the phone or online drew half the concern of the data breach, or physical theft or loss of a credit card. Horton noted that even though these were far less worrisome in the consumers’ minds, they should be treated with the same concern, since the numbers go into the same company database.
One surprising finding is that people responding to the survey indicated that bills, invoices and personal information thrown out in the trash were considered much less of a potential ID security threat.
“Big data breaches that impact millions of people grab attention,” Horton said. “However, if you are the person whose credit rating is at risk through a credit card bill carelessly tossed in the trash, then that problem is every bit as important to you as a massive data theft.”
He said it pays to be cautious with all papers that contain personal and financial information.
Posted Feb. 5, 2014