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Shoppers Keep Close Eye On Credit After Retailer Data Breaches

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Shoppers are keeping a close eye on their credit card statements after two major retailers announced data security breaches.

Target has said a breach may have affected more than 100 million customers.  Initially Target announced credit or debit card numbers were swiped from 40 million people who shopped in stores between November 27th and December 15th. Then late last week, it was announced names, phone numbers or email addresses, were stolen from 70 million customers.  Target said that information was gathered “during the normal course of business.”  Target says some of 70 million victims whose personal information was stolen may overlap with the 40 million whose credit or debit cards were compromised.

Neiman Marcus also announced a cyber-security attack.  The retailer announced thieves hacked into its system and stole credit and debit card information. It’s not yet clear how many customers were affected.

Saman Zonouz, a University of Miami professor and Cyber Security and Forensics expert, explained  “The consequences of this attack, consumers might not see right after the attack but gradually.”

He says thieves may wait to use stolen credit cards until the media coverage of the security breach has died down, and people are no longer thinking about it.  Because those fraudulent charges can take awhile to show up Zanouz suggests if you’re at all concerned your credit or debit card has been compromised you should call and get a new one.

The best way to check for fraudulent charges is to scrutinize your statements.  “They shouldn’t just be looking for $2,000 type of charges.  Even like one dollar or 50 cents charge which is recurrently happening,” he said.

Jorge Tunon is a loyal Target customer and says he’s worried. “I’ve been trying to check every single day, trying to see any irregular charges. So far I haven’t seen nothing wrong so thank God,” he said.

For those people whose personal information was stolen, experts advise  to watch out for phishing scams, emails,  calls, or texts that appear to be from retailers, banks, or credit card companies. They may ask for credit card numbers or social security numbers.  Clicking on links could be dangerous even if an email looks legitimate.

Zonouz warns your personal computer laptop or phone can also be hacked  and he says we may see more large scale breaches even as companies scramble to increase cyber security.

“It’s an arms race,” said Zonouz, “Attackers are human beings. We are also human beings. Whatever we come up with to protect our system, they will come up with something else,” he said.

Target has announced it will offer customers credit monitoring and identity theft monitoring.  For more information from Target about its security breach, click here.

 

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