Protecting Yourself From Fraud - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Protecting Yourself From Fraud

Updated:

A credit card security breach has claimed at least one victim in the Quad Cities. 

Schnucks Foods has discovered a hack in their system, compromising the credit and debit card information of customers. TV6 has confirmed at least one of those customers shopped at the store on Middle Road in Bettendorf. 

The St. Louis-based chain says most of the customer complaints have been largely centered around the St. Louis area. They're advising customers to check payment card transactions for unauthorized charges if you shopped at Schnucks before Saturday.  

A company spokesperson calls this a 'serious cyber attack,' telling TV6 they've never dealt with anything like this before. But officials say they've put several extra security measures in place so it is now safe to use your credit or debit cards at the store. 

(Read the full story here: www.ic3.gov

As the store investigates this security breach, computer forensics experts say other companies are being targeted every day.  

"I don't think a lot of people do realize how common this is," Travis Eygabroad of IT Forensic Technologies says. 

With everything you buy is a risk your financial information could get leaked. Computer forensics experts say it usually works like this: someone, like an employee, opens up an email. 

"Basically it'd be a virus or a Trojan," Eygabroad says. 

That compromises all the financial information in the system. 

"There's a certain code that after a transaction happens, it sends it to a hacker or to the attacker, or goes to a different bank account," Eygabroad says. 

And with a swipe of your card, all your personal information gets sent off to a hacker who could be anywhere.     

Sometimes stores won't even tell you a breach has happened. 

"A lot of the times the companies don't report it due to their reputation and having damage to reputation," Eygabroad says. 

Experts say it can take months, even years, before anyone finds out there's been a leak, so it's up to you to keep on top of things.  

"The sooner you can detect fraud, the less impact it'll have on your finances," Melissa Brown of DHCU Community Credit Union says. 

 Banks recommend checking your accounts online. 

"With online banking you're able to check your transactions on a daily basis to see what's going on, as opposed to waiting every 30 days to get a statement to check those transactions," Brown says. 

Brown also recommends setting up account alerts by email or text. 

"It'll alert you if a large withdrawal has been made on your account," she says. 

She also says you should use a credit card to make big purchases.

"If it's on your debit card, and the charges come out, many times it's hard to get that money back," Brown says. 

If you see anything out of the norm, report it to your bank. They'll work with you to get your money back and protect yourself.

Computer forensics experts also recommend only shopping at reputable sites when buying online; those sites have secure checkout.

They also recommend you regularly install the updates on your computer to protect yourself.

If you think you've become a victim of fraud-- you should contact the store, your bank, and file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center: www.ic3.gov