By now just about everyone knows about the Target data breach that took place from November of 2013 through December of 2013 in which anywhere from 70 to 110 million customer’s credit card information was compromised. The attack–and the knowledge of identical attacks on Michaels and Neiman Marcus–opened our eyes to the harsh realities of poor data security. But if you thought the affect on the victims of the breach ended there, you’d be wrong.
Data security is a very serious business–both for businesses and for consumers forced to conduct business through electronic means. With more horror stories emerging every day it seems, there is no better time than now to get your securities in order. Learn how to protect yourself from data theft.
A recent report from US News has brought to light another scam that has befallen the victims of the Target data breach, and it’s one of the oldest scams in the book: the bait and switch. Like kicking a sick dog, Experian, one of the Big Three credit bureaus, and the one who offered credit monitoring services to the victims, has started taking advantage of the victims and their fragile psyches post-breach. The aforementioned report stated that Experian is poised to make millions off the victims by upselling them to premium credit monitoring packages instead of the paltry free services they received as part of the data breach’s compensation.
Here’s what happened: After the data breach became known, Experian offered what in PR terms would look like a helping hand to the victims, offering up their free ProtectMyID credit monitoring services. These services, however, only look out for “new account fraud,” which is basically when a thief tries to open a new line of credit with your information–and even then, only if the inquires were sent to Experian, with no reciprocity from TransUnion or Equifax. The service does not protect against thieves using your current information to make fraudulent purchases–which is how most of the money from the data breach would have been made. For that kind of protection you would need to purchase one of their other packages for a monthly fee. And who better to sign up for those packages than people who’ve just had their sense of data security rocked to the foundation?
While there are several morality tales to choose from in this story, the one we most want to express is that proper protection is the only way to try and mitigate the damage from the circling credit wolves of the world: both the ones that steal your info and the ones that try to sell you a bill of goods after.