If you've shopped at T.J. Maxx or Marshall's in the last 18 months, keep a close eye on all of your bank statements and credit card statements. TJX, the corporation that runs both T.J. Maxx and Marshall's (along with other small retail stores), announced a major security breach which lead to over 45 million debit and credit card numbers to be stolen from their computer systems.

To make matters worse, if you returned any merchandise to the stores without a receipt, you driver's license and other personal information was also stolen. According to a company spokesperson, about 75% of the cards are already expired or the cards contained some form of "data masking" including in the magnetic strip of the cards.

Everyone is focusing way too much on the lost card numbers. It is easier to cancel a credit card or to allege unauthorized charges (much easier with credit cards than debit cards) than to get a new drivers license number or have to change your address. This personal information can help these identity thieves to open new accounts in your name, ruin your credit report, and leave you strapped with a mountain of debt and paperwork. I think this information is much more damaging to the consumers who shopped at these stores.

There is only so much you can do to help protect yourself against identity theft. When something like this happens, you can't blame yourself. The hackers that go to these measures will always be one leg up on most store security systems. These people are motivated and will find one way or another to get at your money.

Unless we become a cash-based society(never gonna happen my friend), this will continue to happen. The more things get automated, the more points of entry for hackers. I am not against change, I just think some corporations and people try to accelerate the process way too fast. The store will not feel too much of a pinch from this, but some elderly person with not much money who just had their last $100 drained from their debit card certainly will.

There should be more of a penalty when these kinds of things happen. This will give stores more motivation to increase their security systems. Not in-store security, but technical security. The crooks of today and tomorrow are stealing more than a pair of jeans, their taking people's livelihoods with them. Be careful where you choose to swipe that card.

I know I have used my debit card a whole lot more since getting out of my credit card crunch, most people who are trying to get out of debt do. I don't live me life in fear and you shouldn't either. Just monitor your credit report and statements and make sure everything is on the up and up. Question anything that should not be there.

Thanks for reading

I Love You Baby


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