How to Get a Free Credit Score, Without Getting Conned

“Free credit scores” are effective bait. Just ask any of the 200,000 consumers who complained to the Federal Trade Commission about one recent online scheme that lured them with “free” access to their credit scores … then snagged them with a common switch: billing $30 a month for credit monitoring services they never ordered. The good news: Some 145,000 of those victims are getting refunds. Within 60 days, the FTC will mail checks — $20 million worth — in varying …

The Passcode to Hack Most Credit Card Readers

About 90 percent of checkout payment card readers, like those implicated in last year’s string of retailer data breaches, currently use the same password. Reason: The default setting hasn’t been changed – either by its manufacturer, middlemen vendors or retailer clients that purchase the devices. That’s the stunning conclusion after researchers from cybersecurity firm Trustware examined point-of-sale (POS) card readers at 120 retailers nationwide. “No one is changing the password when they set this up for the first time; everybody …

Once More Unto the Security Breach

For the third time this year, I opened an unmarked envelope to find a new credit card glued to the insert. Actually, it wasn’t a new card. Just a replacement for my current card, now unusable because of a security breach somewhere. I’ll be amazed if this card makes it to the end of the year. Sound familiar? Security Breaches on a Massive Scale Huge data breaches affecting millions of American consumers seem to be happening with regularity these days. …

College Students: Ideal for ID Theft

If you have children or grandkids attending college, or about to graduate, it’s time to school them on the dangers of identity theft. Last year the Better Business Bureau deemed college students the “most at-risk” group for identity theft, and those in their 20s represented 1 in 5 of all victims (higher than any other age group), according to reports filed with the Federal Trade Commission. College students and recent graduates are often targeted because they’re ideal victims. Reasons: Many …

How Target-Like Breaches Occur (P.S. More Are Expected)

Maybe you are among the 110 million Target shoppers whose payment card or personal information was hacked during the recent holiday shopping season. Perhaps you are one of the 1 million-plus Neiman Marcus customers whose data was exposed in a 2013 breach just recently announced. Been to Michael’s lately? The arts and crafts retailer is the latest well-known company whose customer payment details were reportedly stolen in the same type of data breach. How are con artists doing it – and which …

Hackers Go Upscale, Infiltrate Neiman Marcus Accounts

Hackers have gone from low-end to high-end retail, as luxury merchant Neiman Marcus became the latest to announce that it’s a victim of a data breach. This comes on the heels of a disclosure last month by Minneapolis-based discounter Target, which reported hackers gained access to payment card data on about 40 million credit and debit accounts between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.  On Friday, Target updated its breach investigation, saying the names, mailing addresses, email addresses and phone numbers …