Protecting our financial data

Target Corp. has upped its estimate of the size of its customer data breach. Target originally said information had been hacked from 40 million customers. Now it estimates 110 million people had lost data. Data thieves not only took credit and debit card information, but names, addresses and phone numbers of people who swiped their cards at Target checkout lines.

Target has promised customers will have “zero liability” for any damage that they may suffer from the theft of their data, and is offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for a year. But that doesn’t stop the data thieves from using customers’ names and information to create fake documents and IDs, and to use those IDs for fraudulent purposes.

We’d like to see Target, other major retailers and credit card companies alike do more to prevent the theft of this data in the first place. One suggestion has been to abandon the magnetic strip technology used on current credit cards with microchip technology, which makes the data much harder to access and pilfer. But it is also a more expensive technology to use.

We have a feeling the cost of adopting new technology will be minimal compared to the financial costs Target may be facing.

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