Home Depot announced this week that its systems had been compromised. Even though we covered this on the blog recently, we thought we’d revisit this concept with some additional insights.
What’s the upshot of all this?
Well, as we told you a couple weeks ago, it’s almost getting to the point where no one knows where this type of thing will happen next. We advocate spreading yourself thinner – but even that might not be enough these days.
Credit Trumps Debit.
We love this quote from a December article on CNNMoney.com.
“I know people love their debit cards. But man oh man, they are loaded with holes when it comes to fraud,” said John Ulzheimer, credit expert at CreditSesame.com, a credit management website.
[Here’s a link to that CNN Money article.]
Our own personal action item here: limit use of the debit card. If that means taking an extra minute to pay with cash by going inside the gas station, so be it. If that means getting out the necessary cash at the beginning of the week, so be it.
This can mean being hyper-obsessive when it comes to what you are using your bank accounts for and when. Weekly check-ins may not be enough. We make it a point to check our accounts every single day.
This COULD mean that you want to sign up for a service like LifeLock – we haven’t used it yet, but the general concept is one we like. Here’s a link to their site and we don’t have an affiliate relationship with them.
Note that watching your score as it moves (hopefully upward) can also help you figure out what is happening on which of your accounts.
Use A Tablet.
This tactic is one we haven’t done…YET…but we’re considering it. We do know others who have done this, and here’s how it goes:
Because of the proliferation of all kinds of malware, spyware and other online viruses, even antivirus software cannot fully protect you. The idea is to get an inexpensive tablet – the least expensive you can find – and use it ONLY FOR BANKING.
Do not download apps. Do not browse the web. USE IT ONLY FOR BANKING.
This way, you know that all of your banking is being done electronically from one place only.
[AGAIN, We have NOT tried this yet. When and if we do, we’ll keep everyone posted, as it seems like a very sensible idea.]
Protecting Yourself from Another Data Breach
Probably the biggest piece of advice here: STAY ALERT. Watch the news, watch your accounts, and stay focused on protecting what’s yours.