This month news surfaced that customers of Visa and MasterCard may have had their private information exposed in a data security breach that compromised roughly 1.5 million accounts.
The twist in the by-now familiar tale: The breach occurred not at the credit card companies themselves but rather at a third-party payment processor called Global Payments Inc. Global Payments and other processors like it serve as conduits: They receive the account number and other data sent when a merchant swipes a credit card and then relay that data on to the credit card company. The credit card company in turn forwards the data to the bank that issued the card.
Many of the breach details remain unknown, including how the accounts were hacked. The incident does, however, make clear the often complicated and interconnected nature of business today. One weak link in the chain is all that an identity thief needs to break in and siphon off account information or other personally identifiable information (PII). If we are to make headway in the fight against identity theft, every business—no matter its size or where it falls in the transactional chain—must take responsibility for securing its systems.
If you’re concerned about the security of your business data, you can start by viewing this month’s slideshow on the top causes of data breaches—the most frequent of which comes from the inside, through employee negligence. Learn about these threats and their high cost to businesses and get tips for safeguarding your company’s data.
Next we look at how military personnel, especially those on extended assignments abroad, are prime targets for identity thieves. While strides have been made toward better protecting servicemembers’ Social Security Numbers, once woefully overexposed, other risks remain. Read up on active-duty alerts and other measures to protect yourself and your family.
Also, in light of a Federal Trade Commission report that showed that most consumers who call credit bureaus for help with identity theft don’t know their rights, we sat down for a Q&A with personal finance expert Gerri Detweiler. Gerri highlights key points for consumers to keep in mind should they find themselves hit by identity fraud.
Finally, if your prospective employer or college wants access to your Facebook profile, be sure to read up on your social networking rights in this infographic from Backgroundcheck.org.
As always, we hope you enjoy.
Chief Executive Officer
Identity Theft 911