A hack of the Global Payments network recently has once again thrust consumer security into the limelight. In the digital age, there are a lot of questions about how safe our personal information really is when we make transactions using personal information on several every day.
With the hacking of personal information on popular services like Sony Live and Zappos.com, consumer information safety is a top company priority but leaks are still possible. If a company you patronize is victim of hacking and personal information is leaked, check out these steps to make sure you stay on top of the situation.
The most important thing to do when you hear that a company you patronize has been hacked is to confirm the story. While blogs like Krebs On Security are helpful as consumer watchdogs, many news reports about security breaches are intentionally hyped up before they are even confirmed.
Contact the company directly through customer service to confirm that a breach has happened before you begin to worry.
What Was Leaked?
When you contact the company, try to figure out exactly what information was leaked. At times it may be as simple as a breach of scrambled first and last names or as serious as a full leak of unencrypted data. Knowing what is at risk can help you later on.
Should You Take Action?
After a potential compromise of security, the best piece of advice is to hold tight for at least a little while and let the business and credit card company sort things out. Credit card companies keep a fairly close eye on account usage and if there is suspected fraud they will let you know. Remember that this is their job and you aren’t liable for any fraudulent charges due to a security breach.
Sometimes people like to have the peace of mind of solving the issue on their own or keeping an eye on things to catch any possible mistakes. What was leaked will really be the decisive factor in what steps you should take after. If credit card information was leaked you might want to cancel your card and have it reissued. If personal information like name, address and social security number was leaked you’ll probably want to add an extra credit check or two to your regular schedule to check for any irregularities.
Coinciding with a breach of security, most companies will release some type of instructions for affected customers. On top of the steps you take as an individual to ensure your peace of mind and security, check out their recommendations to make sure you’ve covered all the bases.
Keep up to date with the company over the months following a leak in case they offer the effected customers any special deals. When Sony Live was hacked, customers were given a credit for free service and other companies may be offering some type of deal to entice customers to continue using their service and you may stumble upon a really great deal.
Once you’re sure your information is safe, don’t completely forget about the issue. Be picky in the future when giving out personal information online and only use secure payment services.