Experts give tips on protecting information as data breaches increase

Related Story

COLUMBIA - The Identity Theft Resource Center expects the number of corporate data breaches to reach an all-time high for this year.

The center said experts believe there will be 1,500 corporate data breaches like what happened with Equifax and Sonic by the end of the year, a 37 percent increase from 2016. 

Debra Lake of Central Bank said she has not seen many local breaches, but the national breaches have done a lot of damage.

“Locally, we’re not seeing merchant breaches, but the industry as a whole has seen an increase in merchant compromises," Lake said. “Fraudsters are continuing to look for the easiest way to obtain information.”

Sean Spence, Mid-Missouri Better Business Bureau regional director, said when someone hacks credit card information, they typically sell it over the internet, meaning your information could end up anywhere. A criminal could also get it through a skimmer, a device put on an ATM, gas pump or cash register. 

Be careful when making online purchases, Spence said. He suggested looking into any online deals and companies that seem too good to be true.

“More and more, we’re seeing these companies that have these great deals and they turn out to be fake, and they really are just trying to get your credit card information," Spence said.

He also said to check your bank and credit card accounts regularly for unauthorized activity.

“If you only look at your account every month or so and don’t pay much attention, you could have a very large problem," Spence said. "If you pay attention on a weekly or even on a daily basis to your account, you’re going to know when something happens, and it really won’t be that big a deal.”

If you find questionable activity, Spence said to report it to your credit card company or bank.