In the wake of the recent data breach at Target stores across the country, some big banks are taking steps to educate account holders about their efforts to combat fraud. Chase and Bank of America posted statements on their websites outlining what the institutions are doing to protect cardholders. Each bank is reassuring customers that they will not be liable for unauthorized charges. BofA stresses that account holders do not need to call to understand the impact and advises them to continue using their debit cards and credit cards.
Chase appears to be dealing with the situation a bit differently. A statement indicates that the bank will be contacting affected account holders directly. Additionally, for Chase customers whose cards were included in the breach, shopping may be a bit more challenging. The bank indicates that it has posted limits on cash withdrawals and transaction dollar amounts until it can replace the cards. However, if you fall into that category, the bank says you can visit a branch in person with proper identification to access more cash. Chase actually kept some branches open on Sunday, Dec. 22 to help customers whose information may have been stolen.
Fraud is a serious problem for the banking industry. Despite sophisticated technology and advanced monitoring efforts, banks struggle to keep up with cybercriminals. According to data from Javelin Strategy & Research, there were more than 12 million identity fraud victims in 2012. All those crimes added up to almost $21 billion in identity theft. The Target data breach is almost certain to make those figures more troubling for banks. The incident impacts approximately 40 million cardholders.
If you shopped at Target between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, it's important to carefully review your online banking activity. While your bank may be stepping up its effort to flag suspicious activity, your eyes are equally important. If you notice unauthorized charges, notify your bank immediately.
Have you stepped up your surveillance of your bank account?