Consumers are the new target of hackers.
This season there were nineteen days in December that caused havoc for Target stores and their holiday patrons.
Unless you went into hibernation just after your Thanksgiving dinner, we all heard the bad news. It is estimated that over 40 million credit card customer’s vital information has been breached. This new assault is now listed as the second largest hacking of customer information in retail history, second only to the 2005 hacking of over 45 million credit card customers involving retailer TJX Cos.
The time has come to recognize that this problem is not going away anytime soon. If you have ever had your vital information stolen you know firsthand what this nightmare can do to your life.
While European retailers have updated their plastic to incorporate a microchip technology with a security pin number for customer security, American retailers drag their feet. The estimated annual cost for credit card fraud now reaches nearly $13 billion. How valid is the retail industry’s excuse that the newly developed high security card is too expensive! Don’t forget the great annual interest rates of 15% -27 % the credit card companies gifts us.
Our retailers should immediately insist that our nation’s commerce, which includes their customers, is equipped with the‘state of the art’ protection security for American consumers. If an independent plan to transition our credit card technology is not fully initiated and executed within the next 90 days the Congress should step in mandating such protection.
At minimum, our Congress, under the U.S. Privacy Protection Act of 1974, as defined in such legislation, should initiate the appropriate administrative, technical and physical safeguards to insure the security and confidentiality of records and to protect against any anticipated threats or hazards to their security or integrity which could result in the substantial harm, embarrassment, inconvenience, or unfairness to any individual on whom information is maintained.
In my opinion, this effort to terrorize the American people by assaulting our economy is nothing more than international economic warfare. This is not the effort of a few random criminally minded individuals. Our enemies are fully capable of assaulting our nation utilizing weapons of technology, rather than the traditional weapons of mass destruction.
If American retailers, banking institutions, and our elected officials in Congress, fail to act in a timely manner to repair this national security problem …….we must. Consumers should consider closing any non essential credit card accounts. Keep only those credit cards that offer versatility of usage with merchants, the most favorable interest rates, the highest level of security protection, and a defined policy of financial reparations in the event of any credit informational security breach.
Ultimately, the best person to protect you…….is you!
Just a few thoughts, and my best wishes for a better 2014.
PAUL JOHN MAISANO
Blackstone Enterprise Inc.