The last year has been crazy with tons of activity from cybercriminals. One of the worst attacks was the colossal Equifax data breach.
This was one of the worst breaches of all time. That's because more than 145 million Americans had their personal information exposed, including Social Security numbers.
Unfortunately, we're not done there. We've just learned of another massive data breach and if you've shopped at this popular retailer, hackers have your personal data, credit card information and more.
Has your payment card data been ripped off?
I'm talking about the popular retailer Saks Fifth Avenue. Saks Off 5th and Lord & Taylor retail locations were also impacted by the data breach. The owner of the retail chains, Hudson's Bay Company, said that more than 5 million of its shoppers had their critical data stolen by hackers.
Stolen information in the breach includes payment card details. If you shopped at any of these locations within North America from May 2017 until now, there's a good chance that your info was stolen.
Making matters worse is the fact that nearly 125,000 hijacked records have already been put up for sale on the Dark Web. But the rest of the 5 million stolen records will most likely be up for sale on the Dark Web soon.
(PssT! If you want to learn about the Dark Web, listen to Kim's 2-part podcast series on the topic below. You can listen to them for free!)
Hudon's Bay said they recently discovered the breach and have taken steps to contain it. It believes customers shopping in its stores are no longer at risk. However, the investigation is ongoing and more bad details could be on the way.
The company also said it will be notifying impacted customers of the breach. Affected customers will be offered free identity protection services, including credit and web monitoring.
How to protect your financial life
In the aftermath of this major data breach, there are a few security steps that you should take to protect your financial accounts. Keep reading for suggestions.
The first thing you should do is check your bank statements. If you see any suspicious activity, report it to your financial institution ASAP. Since this breach goes back almost a year, make sure to check prior statements that go back to May 2017.
Hudson's Bay is assuring impacted customers that they will not be liable for fraudulent charges that may result from the breach. Hold them to that.
The next critical step is to change your account passwords. Even though the company claims customers of its digital platform are not impacted by this breach, you should change your passwords. As we said earlier, the investigation is ongoing and digital customers could end up being impacted when it's all said and done.
When creating passwords, make sure they are strong. Don't pick something that would make it easy for criminals to hack. Click here for 3 proven formulas for creating hack-proof passwords.
Now that this breach has been made public, you can be sure that criminals will take advantage of the publicity. They will be targeting new victims with phishing emails, pretending to be from the impacted companies. Those fraudulent emails will contain malicious links and if you click on them you could end up handing over critical data right to the criminals.
That's why it's important to be able to recognize a phishing scam. Most phishing emails are sent by criminals with poor grammar and several spelling errors. Click here to take our phishing IQ test to see if you can spot a fake email.
Have a question about this data breach or anything tech-related? Kim has your answer! Click here to send Kim a question, she may use it and answer it on her radio show.
BE SAFE ONLINE, HERE ARE 5 SECURITY MISTAKES YOU'RE PROBABLY MAKING RIGHT NOW
We all do it. You make security mistakes that put your family at risk and probably don't even know it. In this digital age where everything from your garage door to your laptop, tablet, smartphone and light bulb are connected to the internet, you're leaving yourself open to hacks. Criminals around the world can remotely access your home.