Thursday, April 19, 2018
Business

Protect yourself from identity theft

NEW YORK — It's an almost weekly occurrence: On Tuesday, Goodwill said its computer systems may have been hacked, leading to the possible theft of customers' credit and debit card information. The nonprofit agency, which operates 2,900 stores in the U.S., said it is working with federal investigators to look into a possible breach.

That follows news over the weekend that Vendini, an event ticketing service, had settled a class-action suit related to a data breach in 2013. In the past year, major companies like Target, LinkedIn, eBay and Neiman Marcus have also been hacked.

The incidents are especially troubling to consumers as online and mobile shopping continues to grow.

Here are five ways you can avoid becoming a victim of identity theft — even if your data has been compromised.

1. Monitor your bank statements. Keep a close tab on your bank statements. Gartner analyst Avivah Litan recommends checking at least once a month, if not more, for any suspicious activity. If you find something that doesn't seem right, call your bank right away.

2. Use a credit card, not a debit card. Government regulations protect you from liability for fraudulent charges over $50 when you use a credit card or a debit card with a signature, not a PIN. But if you use a debit card with a PIN, the regulations are murkier, and you may end up being liable for some charges.

3. Get free credit monitoring. Concerned consumers can pay an organization for credit monitoring, but the government offers three free credit checks a year, something consumers should take advantage of, Litan said. The reports will show if any loans or new credit cards have been taken out in your name. Here's where to find free credit reports: www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action.

Also, companies that have had a data breach often offer to pay for customers' credit monitoring.

4. Bank smarter. Many banks offer a service that sends an email alert when any major changes — or charges — are made to a customer's account. The alerts can be very helpful in detecting identity theft. If you want to be extra cautious, don't make money transfers online or pay bills electronically — use a check. Also, experts recommend changing your passwords often. And never use the same password for banking that you use for lower-security websites. Nonbanking sites tend to be easier to hack.

5. Don't rely on companies. Vendini, the latest company to report a data breach, on Friday scored a rare settlement for a class-action lawsuit about compromised data. The company, which offers ticketing services for theaters and event venues, will pay out up to $3,000 per customer for identity theft losses, but it will be difficult for people to collect the money, because they need to prove that the information that was used for identity theft came from Vendini. The lesson: Don't depend on companies to let you know if your data has been stolen. If you want to protect yourself, it's best to take matters into your own hands.

Comments
St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

ST. PETERSBURG — Beef jerky, mayonnaise and Altoids mints were the only edible things in view inside one of the houses. There was no running water. The refrigerator was empty. A bed sat on top of the deteriorating living room floor. Cigarette butts b...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Those who use mass transit across the Tampa Bay area can ride for free on Sunday.To celebrate Earth Day, both the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) will be offering free rides on Su...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

TAMPA — Developers on Thursday detailed plans for what they touted as the tallest building on Florida’s west coast, with condominiums priced in six and seven figures and a shimmering glass design they say would stand out in the skylines of New York, ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Wells Fargo said to be target of $1 billion fine

Wells Fargo said to be target of $1 billion fine

Federal regulators are poised to impose a $1 billion penalty on Wells Fargo for a number of alleged misdeeds, including forcing customers to buy auto insurance policies that they didn’t need, according to people briefed on the regulatory action. The ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

TAMPA — At the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, hotelier Ian Schrager transformed a Jazz Age building with its own rich history into a destination offering even more heady experiences — extravagant, edgy and bohemian.In Tampa, Schrager will have...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

CLEARWATER — A longtime IBM executive is becoming the new leader of Tampa Bay’s largest public company. Tech Data on Thursday named Richard "Rich" Hume as its new CEO effective June 6. Hume joined Tech Data two years ago and is currently the chief op...
Updated: 4 hours ago
LA Fitness tones up Hillsborough location

LA Fitness tones up Hillsborough location

When LA Fitness on West Hillsborough Ave. reopens mid-summer, it will have undergone a $5 million renovation and a complete transformation. Closed since November 2017, the 10-year-old facility was completely torn down and is still undergoing construc...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Kids have fun and gain coding skills at Code Ninja in Westchase

Kids have fun and gain coding skills at Code Ninja in Westchase

A new program that teaches coding to kids is coming to the Tampa Bay area. Code Ninjas is a Houston-based franchise that is opening its first location in Westchase in early May. There are plans for other centers in Carrollwood, South Tampa, New Tampa...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Graze all day at Armature Works

Graze all day at Armature Works

TAMPA HEIGHTS— Graze 1910 upholds the comfortable and relaxing, yet elegant setting of Armature Works with its "comfort food" offerings and dedication to serving breakfast all day."It’s the way I eat. I graze all day," said owner Raymond "Ray" Menend...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Bucs to debut East Club Stadium at Raymond James Stadium

Bucs to debut East Club Stadium at Raymond James Stadium

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare for the upcoming 2018 season with luxury renovations to its East Stadium Club featuring everything new and modern.These enhancements are the fourth phase of the nearly $160 million renovation of Raymond James Stadium,...
Updated: 7 hours ago