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The Frequency of Credit Card Hacks

Some investors have had their credit card or debit card accounts attacked more than twice, according to a Millionaire Corner survey.   

| BY Kent McDill

Everyone who has a credit card or debit card worries about having their card hacked by computer thieves. But not everyone has suffered from the scourge of credit card hacking.

While most surveys indicate 70 percent of Americans worry about having their credit or debit cards hacked, a Spectrem Group Investor Pulse survey of affluent investors finds that only 24 percent of investors have actually suffered that kind of attack. Out of more than 900 investors, 28 percent of women and 21 percent of men say they have had their credit or debit cards hacked.

Ninety percent of those who have had their credit card information stolen through computer hacking have only suffered such an attack once or twice, the survey notes. Eight percent have had three or four such attacks, while 1 percent have had it happen more than four times.

According to Netherlands-based security firm Gemalto, there were more than 1,500 data breaches in 2014 leading to 975 million data records being lost or stolen. The security firm said 54 percent of data-hacking incidents focused on stealing identity information rather than financial information, which was the purpose of 17 percent of attacks.

Identify theft is considered more of a long-term benefit theft to stealing financials, which can be changed quickly.

Gemalto said 58 percent of stolen credit card occurrences came from retail, and 21 percent came from the financial industry (banks).

A Pew Research study conducted in 2014 found that 18 percent of all consumers reported suffering from at least once hacking occurrence, but that number rose from 11 percent just six months prior to the latest report.

“We are clearly seeing a shift in the tactics of cybercriminals, with long-term identity theft becoming more of a goal than the immediacy of stealing a credit card number,’’ said Gemalto vice president Tsion Gonen. “Identity theft could lead to the opening of new fraudulent credit accounts, creating false identifies for criminal enterprises, or a host of other serious crimes. As data breaches become more personal, we are starting to see that the universe of risk exposure for the average person is expanding.”

Steve Weisman, the author of Identity Theft Alert, says online shoppers can protect themselves by making sure they are on secure websites, but that hackers can find their way into any system if they want to.

“I will say it is safer shopping online than going into a store these days,’’ Weisman said in an interview with Millionaire Corner.

”When you look at a retail website, you want to check the URL, and you want to see h-t-t-p-s; that ’s’ is a secure socket locator, which means your data is being encrypted,’’ he said. “If it does not have that, or show a padlock (image), you cannot do it.”

His next tip for online shopping is be careful what kind of card you use to make your purchase.

“Do not use a debit card for retail purchases,’’ Weisman said. “If a credit card is breached, the law says you only have a maximum of $50 or $100 you are responsible for, and most companies won’t even charge you that. With the debit card, if you don’t pick it out you can lose your entire bank account.”



About the Author

Kent McDill


Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.