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Protect yourself from string of recent data breaches

New IdentityTheft Scam

Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord and Taylor announced data breaches for customers with their credit cards. These data breaches are just the latest in a long line of cybersecurity breaches across the country.

In 2016 data breaches affected more than 600,000 Marylanders. Anyone can become a victim, but there are some things you can do to make yourself less appealing to thieves.

“We are a target for data breaches. Marylanders have been affected by these breaches over a number of years,” said Jody Thomas, with the Better Business Bureau.

Thomas said that last year, Maryland was ranked seventh for identity theft in the country. If your information is compromised, the company storing the data should notify you. Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord and Taylor are offering free credit monitoring.

“Usually that communication will give you information on how to log in to sign up to get the monitoring. Generally that is on the victim to go ahead and launch that free service,” Thomas said.

Here are ways to make your chances of becoming a victim less likely:

  • Update the software on your computer and smartphone. Many times, these updates fix security holes.
  • Shred documents with personal information.
  • Get an annual credit report to make sure you haven’t been a victim.
  • When shopping use a credit card instead of a debit card.

“You’re going to have more protections from your credit card versus a debit card. You might notice that you’ve got some cards that say zero liability. Zero liability is a great thing, so you might look at those advantages. You might consider getting monitoring apps through your credit cards and debit cards so you can see when charges are made,” Thomas said.

If you know you’ve been a victim of a breach, you can place a credit alert or freeze on your Social Security number to make it harder for thieves to steal your identity.

“Your information might be for sale right now on the dark web. If you’re a victim, you don’t know; that’s the problem. Your information can be out there for days, weeks, months or years until it is accessed,” Thomas said.

Source: on 2018-04-02 15:30:00

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