The recent fiasco with Target Corp is making many wonder, how do I better protect myself?  Unfortunately, this is no easy task today. In fact, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a non profit identity theft organization, more data breaches occur than many people realize. For instance, since 2005 at least 662 million records have been compromised with more than 4100 data breaches in the US. But this is not even a complete list because there is no federal law mandating that data breaches even be reported!

What is more alarming is where these breaches are occurring. Although we think of retailers first, the biggest problems are with hospitals, doctors, and schools. They account for  almost half (44%) of data breaches. Retainers account for only 12%. How do these events happen?  There are hackers and fraudulent schemes, careless record keeping, people losing computer disks or thumb or flash drives.

If you are worried about identity theft or issues with breaches of your data, contact the Ohio Consumer division, and/or the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, do a credit check at least once a year with all 3 companies, alert your credit card companies and get new cards ASAP, make sure no one can see you use your cards when at the bank, carry your cards in a metallic container that prohibits people from stealing your information remotely when they walk by with sophisticated equipment, never tell anyone crucial information over the phone, put a security freeze on your accounts, and  don’t give your complete social if you can avoid it.