Cyber Security Concept

As technology continues to evolve, so does the expertise of hackers. On September 22, 2016, Yahoo announced a major data breach from 2014 of more than 500 million accounts. Stolen information included names, birth dates, phone numbers, passwords and answers to security questions.

Fashion retailer Vera Bradley announced on October 12, that their company experienced fraudulent activity this summer via their in-store payment system.

With holiday shopping season fast approaching, consumers should be aware of skimming devices that encrypt data from credit and debit cards and online phishing scams that attempt to obtain personal information via email.

Although we can only do so much as consumers to protect ourselves from company data breaches, what small steps can we take?

Change Your Passwords

Many people use the same few passwords for convenience. However, in the event of a data breach, a fraudster could hack into your other accounts that are all secured by one password. It is crucial to change your passwords every couple of months to complex phrases with numbers and special characters.

Enable Additional Security Features

Certain companies allow you to use additional security measures to access an online account. For example, when you’re logging in from an unfamiliar computer, Google offers a two-step authentication process. In addition to your password, you’ll receive a verification code via text or phone call to enter as well.

Research Past Data Breaches

If you plan to use the online services of any company, research any past data breaches before providing your payment information. When a large corporation or even a small business is hacked, they should be taking extra steps to protect their customers and disclosing those plans to the public.

Keep an Eye on Financial and Medical Records

In addition to retailers like Target and Home Depot, health care and insurance companies can also be hacked. In 2015, almost 40 million medical records were stolen from Anthem Inc. Monitoring your financial statements for suspicious activity can protect you from full-blown identity theft, but monitoring your medical records can be the difference between life and death. A hacker can use your information to illegally obtain medical care.

At Ion Bank, we are committed to protecting the personal information of our customers. To learn more about debit card safety and other e-fraud protection services, visit our online Security Center today.