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Do You Believe Credit Cards Are Safe?

Poll QuestionNo doubt you’ve heard about Target’s holiday hack.

Data from some 40 million credit and debit accounts was accessed during prime shopping season – and now the major discount retailer has announced that PINs were in the mix as well.

And it likely has you asking, can this get any worse?

Our feelings: You bet.

Even though Target says those personal identification numbers were highly encrypted, and therefore unlikely able to be used to withdraw cash at an ATM, this is still unfortunate news.

Because even if they can’t figure out those personal identification numbers, thieves possess customer names, credit/debit card numbers, expiration dates and security codes. In other words, almost everything they need to make your financial life a living hell.

(Target maintains that Social Security numbers weren’t compromised.)

And here people have been freaking out about the risks of RFID cards and online shopping.

If you shopped at Target between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, we think you should take a few precautions, whether you’ve seen any unauthorized activity on your accounts or not:

  • If you haven’t been contacted by your financial institution, make the call yourself. Go ahead and request a new credit or debit card. Sure, this might be a pain if you have multiple monthly bills attached to your current account number, but see this as an opportunity to weed out the amount of places that have your data on hand.
  • If you absolutely can’t be bothered, change your PIN number. (But really, be bothered.)
  • Monitor your statements for unauthorized activity – something many people neglect to do now that statements are delivered electronically and sometimes require you to log in to your account. According to the Federal Trade Commission, you’re not liable for any unauthorized transactions if your credit card number is stolen. The same goes for theft of your debit card number – as long as you report the theft within 60 days of receiving your statement.

What remains to be seen is how this will affect Target in the future. With lawsuits filed, can love for this fan favorite trump perceived or legitimate negligence?

Or was Target just an unlucky target of what we all knew would happy eventually?

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Target's hack has caused me to:
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