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14.01.2014Protecting Your Financial Accounts from Hackers

Consumers are getting bombarded with news of cyber security attacks at well-known retail stores


MoneyBuilder, Forbes.com

Consumers are getting bombarded with news of cyber security attacks at well-known retail stores such as Target TGT -1.79% and Neiman Marcus. They are concerned about their personal information and are left to wonder what can be done to protect themselves.

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Here are some steps consumers should take to protect their financial accounts:

  • Check your bank statement and credit card accounts regularly. Don’t just look at the “large” transactions; pay attention to the small charges. Those could be a thief checking to see if the account is still active. If you spot a transaction that you did not make, contact your bank immediately.
  • Change the PIN number on your debit card.
  • Don’t give out your card number or personal information on the phone or via email unless you have initiated the correspondence. Make it a rule not to click any link you receive in your email.
  • Check your credit report. Make sure there are no new accounts that have been opened in your name. Also, check to see if there have been any major changes in your credit score. This can be a sign of identity theft.
  • Change the passwords on your financial accounts.
  • If your account has been compromised, you can place a free fraud alert on your credit report which makes it difficult for a thief to open up a new account in your name.
  • Consider a credit freeze. This makes it necessary for you to approve the release of any information by the three credit reporting agencies.

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