January 9, 2014 – CALGARY, ALBERTA – Consumers are constantly cautioned against sharing personal information, but yet they are required to do so almost on a daily basis. In a world of passwords and security questions designed to protect our information, consumers are left wondering just how safe our personal data really is. On the heels of a massive data breach involving American branches of the retail giant Target, Better Business Bureau is warning Canadian consumers to exercise extreme caution when using credit or debit cards as their preferred form of currency, even when dealing with a credible and experienced business.
In America, credit and debit cards embed a consumer’s PIN on the stripe located on the back of the card that is swiped at each purchase. If an ATM or purchase terminal has had a card-skimming device installed by scammers, your PIN will be accessible and compromised. In Canada and the U.K., consumers have been issued cards with micro-chip technology to further ensure security when making a financial transaction. As seen on CIBC’s website, the chip provides layers of encrypted security which makes it difficult for fraudsters to gain access to your personal information. Chip cards also allow consumers to keep track of their cards at all times, as they do not have to hand their card over to cashiers to be swiped.
President and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, Sandra Crozier-McKee, says it’s crucial to not only do your research before giving out your information, but to handle your cards responsibly. “If you are suspicious about whom or what organization is requesting your information, check with BBB to ensure you are dealing with a trustworthy business,” she says. “Even though some businesses may still have the option for you to swipe your card, always insist on using the chip so you know you are making a secure transaction. Understand that even well-known and reputable businesses are not immune to data breaches, and carefully monitor your credit reports and bank statements so that you can act quickly if you discover your information has been compromised.”
BBB offers these data breach tips in case you are suspicious or know your information has been compromised:
For more consumer tips visit bbb.org
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local,independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, which was founded in 1954 and garners more than one million instances of service annually.
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