North Texas Daily

Experts advise students on creditcard dangers

Experts advise students on creditcard dangers

Experts advise students on creditcard dangers
February 13
15:54 2014

Brittany Armstrong // Intern writer

Last November, malicious software enabled hackers to steal information from the credit and debit cards of Target’s customers last year during the holidays.

The security breach affected as many as 70 million people. Hackers were able to access customers’ names, home addresses, emails and phone numbers during the breach.

Even though Target presented a large corporate bulls-eye, experts advise that major breaches aren’t the only ones for consumers to look out for. Small Denton stores could also be attacked, possibly leaving student’s identities and other forms of information at risk.

The FBI distributed a confidential report to retailers last month that described the risks associated with “memory parsing” malware that infects point-of-sale systems such as cash registers and credit card swiping machines according to news reports.

Professor of information science at UNT’s College of Business, Leon Kappelman, said information about customers is stored everywhere.

“Almost everything we do is available — our purchases, the movies we watch, what we look up online, what we check out at the library,” Kapellman said. “There are companies whose business is aggregating information about you and selling it to governments and marketers and they know more about us than we do about ourselves.”

He said the extreme thing that people can do to protect themselves is to completely detach themselves, shred their credit cards and never use Google.

“There’s no simple solution, most of us are not going to drop off and detach everything,” Kapellman said.

Information technology expert and owner of IT company Haletek, Evan Hale said there are ways to prevent identity theft. Some of the most obvious things, however, are the things young people are often failing to do.

“Facebook is the easiest way for someone to find out things about you,” Hale said.

Hale said that if your privacy settings are not set right, someone could look into your page and find out where you live, what your mother’s maiden name is — by looking at the family members that you have listed — and the list goes on.

“Getting the last four digits of your bank account and Social Security number is easy to get once you have that information,” Hale said.

Hale said the best thing to do is to be careful of what you willingly share, to make sure that your Facebook privacy settings are not on default, to not give your Social Security number to people you don’t know over the phone and to monitor your accounts.

Feature photo: Photo illustration by Trevor Garza / Intern Photographer  

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