We spend every day entering our personal information and data onto online forms. This can be when we enter passwords onto numerous sites that are both eCommerce and social media, enter credit card details as we shop and make bookings for hotels, holidays, concerts, in fact just about everything. The amount of times we enter that personal data which is so integral to our life is staggering, and also terrifying. Because with our data out there, we are always in danger of a data security breach where it suddenly becomes available to everyone.
Data Security breaches are becoming more common with companies like Yahoo and Uber falling victim in recent years. Security Boulevard looked at some of the biggest hacks of 2018 and revealed that huge American stores like Macy’s and Bloomingdales, as well as World football organisation FIFA were all victims of breaches during the year. When these companies are a victim, the ordinary man on the street can also become a victim too, because the information that they lose is often your information, and, on one occasion, it was mine.
A couple of years ago I booked an airport hotel for an overnight stay the night before we went away on holiday. The hotel we were staying in was a Marriott hotel, and I made the booking online, through a padlocked site. Last November the Marriott hotel websites were hacked, losing the details of more than 500 million guests, personal details ranging from names and addresses, to credit card and email details.
I was lucky in that nothing had been taken from any card or account, but there were still things I had to do, check my statements for any transactions I didn’t recognise, change passwords for all emails and major accounts. I also contacted my bank to make them aware of any potential unusual transactions so that they could be flagged up.
My father-in-law has also been the victim of a scam to steal information through a phone call. He was contacted by phone by a company claiming to be Sky television, claiming he needed to make a one off payment in order to secure insurance for his set top box. Being a vulnerable pensioner, he gave card details and security words. 24 hours later an unknown company tried to make two transactions from his bank account. The first was a test amount of £5, the second a much larger amount £5,000. Luckily this was flagged on the bank system and we were called into the branch where the breach was discovered and stopped. The police were called but the perpetrators were never found.
Personal information should never be given away during a phone call that you have received, an authentic call will never ask for complete passwords or pass numbers, and if you are in doubt, hang up the call. Keep a list of numbers for your bank, your utilities companies and services like Sky, so you can call back and confirm any call you receive is real and not a scam.
We live in times where our data is always out there, but we must do our best to keep it safe and as hidden as possible.
*this is a collaborative post