Preventing and Managing a Retail Credit Card Breach
Christmas time is here and stores are filled with holiday shoppers who are searching the perfect gifts and spending their hard-earned dollars. During the 2013 holiday shopping season, the spirit of giving was interrupted by one of the largest security breaches in retail history. What started with one major retailer expanded to include several others, resulting in losses totaling more than $200 million. These incidents left some victims with substantial financial hardships, including individual consumers and banking institutions who covered the unauthorized charges for their customers. Now, several financial entities are turning to the courts to secure compensation from the respective retail companies.
According to a report by ABC News, a federal judge recently ruled that the plaintiffs’ assertion of negligence has merit, and should continue through the trial process. The judge reportedly allowed three of the claims to stand and dismissed one that alleged “negligent misrepresentation by omission.”
To prevent personal beaches from impacting your personal finances, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advises customers to exercise caution when out shopping in stores. The government agency suggests that consumers:
- Use one credit card to easily monitor the account for unauthorized charges.
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card because credit cards better protect you from from additional charges.
- If you can, use cash instead of credit or debit cards.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. There are numerous ways that a thief can access your credit card numbers. Sometimes, they simply stand behind you and look over your shoulder. Maintain an awareness about the people standing around you and always guard your financial information from wandering eyes.
- Exercise caution when utilizing cell phone payment apps. Don’t use these new technologies without inquiring about the storage of your personal information and learning what security measures are used by the application company.
When shopping online, the FTC offers these additional suggestions:
- Stick with the stores you know. Familiarity is a great deterrent for breaches. According to the FTC, consumers should look for contact numbers and a physical address on the website.
- Look for security signals. FTC officials advise that the letter “s” on the end of the URL designation “https”, indicates a secure website. If the correct letters aren’t there, keep your credit cards inside your wallet. Don’t let phony “security seals” fool you either. These seals are easily created for usage on phony websites.
You work hard for your money and assets. With the simple swipe of a card, you may hand over your finances to a thief. While retail stores are supposed to maintain adequate security systems, the incidents of the past year exemplify their vulnerability. When breaches do occur, the responsible financial or retail institution may be held liable for compensation of losses. The assistance of an experienced lawyer can prove vital to this endeavor.
If you have been the victim of a retail credit card security breach, contact the Miami legal team of Pita Weber & Del Prado for knowledgeable and skillful representation. Call the office today at 305-670-2889 for a free consultation.