Looking up free credit score
“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.
Signing payment at point of sale terminal
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.
Insecurity final
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?
If you have children or grandkids attending college, or about to graduate, it's time to school them on the dangers of identity theft.
Keyboard typing
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.
Hacker stealing data from a laptop
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.
computer mouse
As the year closes, leading online security vendors are looking into their crystal balls - or rather, reviewing recent trends of trickery - to predict the top cyber scams of 2014. Some notables worth a mention:
Target store
Hackers have stolen confidential data from as many as  40 million credit and debit cards that shoppers used at Target stores from the day before Thanksgiving until December 15.
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