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Secret to using credit card numbers online

Secret to using credit card numbers online
photo courtesy of shutterstock

2014 was the year of the data breach, with hackers stealing information for hundreds of millions of customers of online and offline retailers. That information included credit card numbers, email addresses, usernames, passwords and even Social Security numbers in some cases.

Even the tail end of the year saw hacks at major parking lot operators, a background-check company, Chick-fil-A and confirmation of 1.16 million credit card numbers leaked from a hack at Staples. Don't forget the Sony hack that crippled the tech giant. However, the story is even worse than that.

It's bad enough the breaches happened at all, but even worse, it takes retailers quite a while to secure their stores and then eventually let customers affected know so they can start taking precautions. According to third parties, it took Staples 40 days after learning of the hack to secure all of its stores. Then Staples didn't officially confirm the hack until two months after rumors surfaced.

President Obama just proposed a bill that requires companies to notify their customers within 30 days of discovering a breach. Even then, how are customers supposed to protect themselves when thieves could have their information for a month or more before anyone tells them?

Next page: Learn how to lock down your information so identity thieves and hackers can't get their hands on it
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