Consumer spending continues to rise, and currently constitutes 68.8% of the U.S. economy. Trustwave’s 2017 Global Report indicates that retail point of sale (POS) data breaches rose to 31% of “most breached” systems in 2016, up from 22% in 2015. The threat of retail-based data breaches and identity theft is grave, and keeping data safe should be a high priority for all consumer-facing companies. Here are five expert tips to help you protect your personal data and keep peace of mind while shopping.
Enable card alerts
Make sure to sign up for credit or debit card alerts from your financial provider. Direct alerts to your phone or e-mail will make it easy to know when your card is being used. This gives you the ability to verify whether you made the purchase or if it is fraudulent.
Keep your card close
When possible, avoid giving your card to the cashier and use the customer-facing card reader at check out instead. Always cover your hands when entering your pin number. If asked, don’t give away any other personal details such as your phone number and email.
Don’t repeat login credentials
When shopping online, try to vary your username and password for different online sites. Using the same password on multiple websites creates significant security concerns. For example, if your password for an online store becomes compromised and you used the same password for your email account, a criminal has easy access to all of your online accounts simply by clicking “forgot password” on each site.
Use different cards
Try to use different credit card numbers for bills, in-store retail shopping, travel, and online shopping by categorizing your spending. When using cards for online shopping and traveling, there is a higher chance of stolen card data. By using different cards for different categories, it’ll be much easier to lock in on a compromised card to contain the damage quickly.
Verify your information
Routinely follow up with your payment card providers and verify your contact details that they have on file. If any unusual activity is noted on your card, you’ll be immediately contacted.