How common is a retail data breach?
U.S. retailers lead in the number of data breaches that have occurred. Nowhere else in the world is a data breach so common for a retailer. One third of all U.S. retailers have experienced a data breach. 50% of those breaches occurred in 2018, alone. With the occurrence of data breaches on the rise, retailers are rapidly improving their IT and security to ensure shoppers’ information stays safe.
What information is compromised in a data breach?
When shoppers create accounts or purchase online, they often provide the retailer with a plethora of sensitive information. This can include address, date of birth, security questions and even social security numbers.
This vital information needs to be highly-guarded. Unfortunately, this is the specific information hackers are seeking. With security measures proving no match for hackers, shoppers’ personal information is exposed.
Major retailers that experienced a data breach:
The news covered several large retail breaches throughout 2018, as you may recall. Here are a few of the most memorable retail data breaches that have occurred in recent years:
5. Panera bread
8. Best Buy
9. Under Armour
10. MyFitnessPal app
12. Neiman Marcus
13. Home Depot
14. Anthem Health insurance
What are retailers doing to prevent future data breaches?
A data breach occurs due to lack of security. The most important thing that a retailer can do to protect its shopper’s valuable information is to invest in cyber-security. This means equipping the company with additional IT personnel and a larger IT budget. Retailers should also invest in proper data encryption and conducting thorough audits.
What should you do if your information has been compromised?
As a shopper, you may take extra care when monitoring your identity. Despite efforts, shoppers still fall victim to retail data breaches by the hundreds of thousands. A retail data breach can mean identity theft for you. As you know, this has the potential to ruin your credit and everything you’ve worked towards. So, what should you do if your information was compromised in at a breach? Here are some steps to follow:
1. Determine what was affected and its severity. Not all information is equal in the eyes of a hacker. An example of the least sensitive information is a name or address, with the most sensitive information being a social security number. Figure out exactly what’s been stolen so you can handle the situation accordingly.
2. Change your passwords. If you find that any of your login information has been compromised, go ahead and reset your passwords. You do not want hackers to have continued access to your information.
3. Contact the proper institutions. Once you realize your information has been compromised, its necessary to contact the proper financial institutions. That means contacting your bank, any lenders or credit card companies. You will want to inform them of the breach, just in case any suspicious activity has taken place on your behalf. Most importantly, you will want to notify the credit bureaus to minimize the negative impact the breach may have on your credit report and/ or score.
4. Monitor your credit and identity. There are multiple providers that will monitor your credit report and/ or identity for you. You will receive notifications when suspicious activity takes places. There are both, free and paid, options to monitor your credit report and/ or identity. The best way to stay on top of your information, is to monitor it closely.