BBB offers advice against identity theft

Published On: Sep 03 2014 11:41:46 PM EDT   Updated On: Sep 03 2014 11:51:22 PM EDT

With recent businesses like Home Depot and Target falling victim to identity theft, consumers are questioning does using one type of plastic over the other really matter. The head of the local better business bureau says it does matter and warns consumers to be aware of their banking activity.


Debit or credit? When it comes to identity theft, is one card safer than the other?

The Better Business Bureau and other consumer watchdogs say yes, and that's just one of lessons to learn from the reported security breach that took aim at millions of the Home Depot customers.

The BBB said any customer who shopped at the retail store should consistently check their account.

"You just need to check your credit card [statement] frequently," said Tom Stephens, president of the Northeast Florida Better Business Bureau. "Don't wait for it to come in the mail. Do it online. If you feel nervous, I would maybe call the credit card company and ask them to issue you a new card because of that."

The BBB said shoppers' email accounts can be at risk, too. Investigators believe the breach has been underway since April or May, which leads Stephens to believe scammers will also try to take advantage of the publicity and phish by sending emails.

But what about shoppers who used their debit card?

"Debit cards you have to watch a lot closer. I would definitely advise you to call the bank and get you to issue a new debit card and cancel the old one because they can clean your bank account out," said Stephens. "There are different rules regarding those compared to credit cards. It's not quite as easy."

If using either card still gives you anxiety, Stephens said the old fashioned approach to buying works just as well.

"Pay cash more often -- that solves all problems," said Stephens. "Just pay cash when you go in there."

The Home Depot customers with any questions concerning the security breach can call the company's customer care line at 800-HOME-DEPOT.


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