Even the most cautious consumer can make simple mistakes and become a victim of credit card fraud. More importantly, merchants should learn of the common risks and how to protect their customers’. Fortunately, creditcards.com has outlined the top 10 riskiest places to use credit cards and how to avoid the dangers.
1. Non-bank-owned ATMs: While it may be convenient, these terminals are usually not as good as a bank ATM. In certain cases, hackers will display devices that are just card-skimming machines to steal your financial information.
2. Flea Markets: Flea market merchants are much less likely to be PCI compliant if they accept credit or debit card information. Plus, some merchants take physical records of your cards (like carbon copies) for payment which are much easier to steal.
3. Small Shops/Cafes in Foreign Countries: Banks and the credit card companies report that these merchants tend to have higher rates of credit card fraud so use cash with all of these purchases.
4. Non-Secure Online Checkout: Although it seems like common sense, it is surprising how many online shoppers make purchases on website that aren’t secure. Check to be sure that all of your transactions are from websites that state or show that they are safe.
5. Wi-Fi Hotspots and Public Computers: For many businesses, offering free Wi-Fi can be a huge selling factor to their customers. However, if your Wi-Fi network isn’t properly protected it can be one of the most common places for your business and customers to be hacked. A Wi-Fi hotspot solution like SecureConnect’s can both manage and protect your Wi-Fi segments, eliminating any and all security issues.
6. Recurring Bills/Subscriptions: While automatic bill pay is more convenient, it may also keep you out of the loop to how much is actually being charged to your account and who is behind it.
7. Smartphone purchases: If you are making purchases on your smart phone be careful of the networks you’re using. Public Wi-Fi networks are less secure and your phone has a higher risk of being infected with malware or breached. It is so important that all merchants have proper Wi-Fi security in place to keep all online purchases – via computers or smart phones – safe.
8. Unsolicited E-mails Offers: Unless you know that you have signed up to receive messages from specific companies, don’t click on any e-mails that look suspicious. If you aren’t sure, contact the company through their official web site.
9. Strange and Foreign Domain Extension: If you will be making online purchases, it is best to use web sites that have common extensions such as .com. Other extensions, (like .ru for Russia) are for countries outside the U.S. and it is much more likely that you can be hacked through them.
10. Suspect Swipe Terminals: If you happen to notice a suspicious, stand-alone terminal at another credit card payment machine, say at an ATM or gas pump station, don’t use it! Typically card skimmers are placed there by criminals hoping to collect your financial information.
These valuable guidelines can give great insight to the potential risks, but only a PCI compliance and network security solution is the only thing that can fully protect you. If you are a merchant that wants to secure your networks, better protect your customers and save time, money and hassle – contact us today!
After a 3-month investigation, authorities discovered that a McDonald’s employee, named Todd Pea, had been recruited by a sophisticated crime ring that involved him skimming credit cards of drive thru customers. Once the credit card information was skimmed, the criminals would transfer it to counterfeit cards and then used those cards to make purchases. The purchases, which spanned Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Texas, contained a variety of high-cost items such as flat screen televisions, electronics, furniture and designer clothes.
While the task force, including Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations, the United States Secret Service and the St. Tammy and Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, already arrested eight individuals in connection to the crime, they are continuing with their investigation with additional suspects. They also believe that additional victims will come forward.
This is a perfect example of how no matter how much network security a business has; there is always the risk of physical theft. As a merchant you need to have the all the proper security tools in place; everything from a fully managed firewall to safeguard your online data to cameras placed all around your business to monitor employee actions.
Don’t get caught without them or this could happen to your business!
If you think that your network will always be secure, you might want to re-think that statement. Just because your network is currently secure doesn’t mean that it can’t become unsecure tomorrow. You must monitor your business network constantly and continuously to ensure that you are fully protected. But who has time to sit there and constantly watch it?
Running a successful business has so many aspects and all the other tasks might have you finding it hard to even start addressing your security issues. Naturally there is a much better solution: you can start with a PCI scan.
Of course, this is probably not a task that you want to assign to your IT staff – a proper network security expert should run the scan to accurately identify all issues. If fact, working with a PCI compliance firm that is an Approved Scanning Vendor will be the best source of knowledge and possibly the best way to remediate any issues you may face.
Overall, a PCI scan reveals more than you think — when you really break it down, a PCI scan reveals the very hole that could destroy your business virtually overnight — why let those holes even have the chance? Schedule your PCI scan today!
As the holiday season is upon us, consumers and businesses have to be more careful than ever not to become victims of data and identify theft. As the fastest growing financial crime in America, data theft is increasing every year and now the perpetrators could be anyone from store employees to criminals half-way across the world! Save yourself not only the time and money but also the hassle of worrying around the holiday and follow the precautions below to protect yourself!
1. Check Statements: By checking your statements frequently you can ensure that all the charges are legitimate and match your records. Second, by checking on how frequently you receive statements lets you know if someone has stolen them in transit or from your mailbox.
2. Limit Information: Many people include additional information on checks such as driver’s license and social security numbers for convenience. Unfortunately, if that information falls into the wrong hands you could be breached. You can protect yourself by writing only your first initial in the name space so that if someone did get your check they would not know your full name. Or include your home phone number instead of other important information so that the store may call and verify that the check is legitimate.
3. Look at your credit report: Everyone should monitor their credit report once a year, which has become much more convenient for consumers since they can now be found for free. The website, annualcreditreport.com offers consumers an annual free credit report. You should review it to make sure that all of the information is correct and that there aren’t any other accounts or suspicious entries that you are unaware of.
4. Pay at Post Office: After the holidays, bills quickly show up. Fight all temptations to leave sensitive mail with critical information in the mailbox. Some important information that could be obtained from your bills include your name, address, credit account number, bank information and even your signature from checks. Take the extra trip and drop your bills at your nearest U.S. Postal Service drop box or the office.
5. Shred It: One way that your data can be stolen is through “dumpster divers” who comb through trash to find documents that contain data information such as old bills, credit card statements, old credit cards, ATM receipts, medical statements or even junk mail like credit card and mortgage applications. The only way to combat these dumpster divers is too shred all your information.
6. Remove credit cards: As many holiday gifts come with rebate offers, be sure to remove all purchasing information, like credit cards numbers before giving or sending in receipts to redeem your rebates.
7. Destroy digital data: Computer systems are common Christmas gifts but as older models are sold, traded or disposed, precious data is left on the system. While many people think that simply deleting the data or reformatting the hard drive will wipe the system clean but unfortunately that is not the case. Special products like WipeDrive make sure that all of your data is completely removed and cannot be retrieved from tech-savvy thieves.
8. Fraud Protection: Ask your bank or any financial institution if a fraud program exists and what the terms are. It is important to verify that you have a protection program in place to protect you from paying additional out-of-pocket fees. If you are a business owner, some PCI compliance service providers have programs in place for an additional layer of protection in the event of a breach. All SecureConnect customers are covered by the Breach Protection Program that offers up to $100,000 in coverage, nearly double the industry average.
9. Shop Secure: Online shopping is an easy and convenient way to purchase gifts this season but shoppers beware, your credit card information could just as easily get stolen. Make sure to shop on trusted websites that display web seals (verification that the website is encrypted and safe.) Also, be sure when making purchases to use a secure network unlike most Wi-Fi that can be picked up in public places.
10. Choose Compliant Retailers: Most importantly, no matter how many steps you take to protect yourself from data breaches, if retailers are not PCI compliant then your data is left exposed and open to theft. If you want to know if the retailers you are shopping with are PCI compliant, just call and ask their corporate headquarters.
Remember criminals don’t take a break just because it’s the holidays so follow these tips and proactively protect yourself from identity or data theft this season!
Of the 801 companies surveyed more than 27 percent, up from 18 percent, reported data losses, meanwhile physical property dropped below the 28 percent that was reported in 2009.
The Kroll survey also reports that organized crime has started to work through the internet to target unsuspecting victims, making cross-border crime much easier and possible. These criminals, who are fishing for vital data, are usually not apprehended, less than 1 percent are caught.
As these data issues start to become large threats; business owners need to safeguard themselves, customers and the business from potential threats. A recent survey by the PwC found that more than half of companies expect to increase their spending on protecting intellectual property.