Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Butterfly Effect of the Target Data Breach

You've undoubtedly heard about the massive Target data breach that affected anywhere from 70 to 110 million customers. And you've probably heard that Target is offering one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft insurance to all of its customers (not just the ones affected). And you also may have heard that the hackers accessed Target's network via a heating and cooling contractor that fell prey to a simple 'spear phishing' attack.

But what you may not know is that the data breach has had a 'chilling' effect on philanthropic giving. I was startled to hear a heartfelt plea on my favorite listener supported radio station this afternoon. The announcer begins by reassuring the listener that their personal information is safe and secure (a statement that's been proven false time and time again), then he goes on to acknowledge that many listeners have had to cancel their old credit cards and obtain new ones recently. He ends by encouraging listeners to update their credit card information to enable the radio station to process pledge commitments.

In December, I had to cancel and replace my credit card after an unauthorized $500 charge appeared on my statement. Ironically, it had nothing to do with the Target data breach. In my situation, it was simply a shady local business that tried to charge my credit card for services that it had never performed. However, one of the first things I did when I received my replacement card was to look through my old statements to see which bills I had on 'set it and forget it' auto payment. So, if I had been using that credit card to make monthly payments to the radio station, I probably would have caught it.

What about you?  Have you had to replace your credit cards in the last few months? If yes, did you remember to update your information for auto payments?

No comments: