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What to Do if Your Credit or Debit Card is Compromised

It can be scary if your cards or accounts are hacked, but there is help out there. Learn what it is.

We live in a time of data breaches where payment or personal information is always at risk. Hackers have found a gold mine in stealing large swathes of data from companies that include credit and debit card numbers that could be used to make minor fraudulent transactions.

These often go unnoticed because of how small each transaction is, but the severity of these crimes is still massive because when the toll is added up — hackers end up accumulating millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims. Cybercriminals don’t just ‘break-in’ to a company’s network, they actually use various techniques to begin their online assault. Malware, phishing scams, ransomware, and other trojan horses are a few ways information is stolen from companies, employees, and their customers.

Read More: Get to Know These Cybercrime Trends

Understanding how credit and debit card breaches are carried out and what to do about them can help you not fall prey to these attacks.

How They Happen
Cybercriminals first look for vulnerabilities in a company’s security protocols and exploit these by targeting specific people, systems or networks. Network attacks and social attacks are the 2 main ways hackers strike.

With network attacks, hackers are monitoring for weaknesses in applications, infrastructure, or in an entire system itself.

Social attacks entail phishing scams or other ways of tricking employees into providing hackers with access to a company’s network. These attacks can be done through fraudulent emails with malicious attachments that appear to be from an important figure in the company, or through fake login screens that an unaware employee populates with a username and password, thus giving full access to a hacker.

After a hacker gains access to a computer or device, the network is cracked open and confidential company data is stolen, such as credit and debit card numbers.

You Aren’t Helpless if Your Info is Compromised
The Office of Consumer Protection urges consumers to watch out for these scams and data breaches. One thing you should do is periodically look at your credit card statements for any odd or unknown charges. If there is any, contact your bank to report suspicious activity.

We recommend setting up new login information for your account immediately, but don’t stop there. Take further measures by placing a fraud alert and a security freeze on your credit bureau reports. Make sure you frequently check these reports for any strange activity.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that you’re eligible for a free annual credit report from each of these 3: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Call 877-322-8228 or visit AnnualCreditReport.com to claim your free credit report.