Imagine you’re at the supermarket, you swipe your debit card, entire your pin, get a receipt, and walk out…your hands full of groceries.
From the swipe to the bank, account information goes through multiple steps, and at each point, information could be vulnerable to an attack.
“The hacker only has to find one way into my network or into my system to get in. I have to find 100 or 1000 doors that I need to close,” says Gerald Wright, Professor of IT at Husson University.
That makes catching up with these so called ‘hackers’ very difficult. Bangor Savings Bank has issued about 100-thousand cards in Maine. Their fraud protection unit will go through hoops to keep data safe.
“We don’t know which data was taken, if any. We don’t know which data will be used if any, and we don’t know if any of that data will be Bangor Savings data,” says Yellow Breen, VP of Bangor Savings Bank.
In the case of the Target breach, Bangor Savings weighed the options of reissuing cards or waiting to see if their customers had been hit. Only a very small percentage was.
“I get a call from fraud protection and basically asking if I was in Houston Texas.”
The bank ended up reissuing about 55-hundred cards, but they say account safety is a joint effort by the bank and its account holders.
“The person who knows their account and their business the best is the customer,” says Mike Knupp, Professor of IT at Husson University, and Target shopper.
Online banking and text-alerts are some of the ways consumers can keep track of their accounts. But a new card is being using in Europe. It contains a special chip. And single-use credit cards are starting to appear.
“It’s really hard to steal the data and it’s even harder to duplicate that chip fraudulently,” Breen says.
“Many of the banks now offer one time credit cards, so if you’re uneasy about an online purchase, you can call up the bank, you can get a one time credit card you use that for that transaction and then that credit card is no good anymore,” Wright explained.
Bottom line in the digital age, the race between the fraudsters and the “good guys” is far from over.
“It’s always a game of trying to stay one step ahead or one step behind the hackers,” Wright said.
For information on how to protect yourself from fraud, you can contact your local bank, or visit one of the websites below for helpful information.