The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

January 20, 2014

The Color of Money: Losing an identify war

We have to face the truth: We've lost the battle to protect our identities. Once the information from our credit and debit cards has been transmitted, it's out of our control. The latest high-profile data breaches confirm that we are forever vulnerable.

     In mid-December, Target said that criminals had forced their way into its computer system and gained access to customer credit and debit card information. Initially, Target said about 40 million shoppers were affected.

     Recently, the retailer disclosed that the personal data for an additional 70 million customers -- names, phone numbers and email addresses -- had also been stolen.

     With your personal information, identity thieves can do a lot of financial harm. They can gain access to your bank account, open utility or mobile phone accounts or get medical treatment using your health insurance.

                I hear a lot of stories about identity theft. A banker once told me even his information was stolen during a data breach. In that incident, someone was able to get an auto loan with his stolen information. Because the crook paid the loan on time, the victim had a hard time clearing the matter up.

     In a full-page ad that ran in major newspapers, Gregg Steinhafel, Target's chairman, noted: "I know this breach has had a real impact on you, creating a great deal of confusion and frustration. I share those feelings. You expect more from us and deserve better."

     Now we've also learned that luxury retailer Neiman Marcus was hit by hackers.

     People are asking me if it's safe to use their credit or debit cards at the stores. Probably safer now, but you're still vulnerable because the bits and bytes that make up your personal information aren't in your hands.

     Do the recent data breaches mean we should stop using plastic?

Text Only
Business
  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

  • Ask the Mompreneur: It’s best to farm out your payroll

    When my husband and I hired our first employee at our Web development company, we had it easy when it came to doing payroll.

    July 17, 2014

  • Protecting against unnecessary losses

    QUESTION: I run a small bar and grill which is open 7 days a week and have to rely on others for some of the shifts. How can I ensure employees have not become my partners?

    July 17, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.
    Workplace distractions are everywhere, especially in an age of social media and open-plan offices. In the face of so much temptation, accomplishing what you’re paid to do can be tough.

    July 16, 2014

  • It could be time for a career coach

    Need a little help figuring out your next career move?
    If you’re putting in the hours and still not seeing the rewards, feeling undervalued or simply striving to be more successful, it may be time to hire a career coach.

    July 16, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Turn to boss for help with disgruntled underling

    QUESTION: When I joined this company a few weeks ago, I discovered that the person who previously held my position is now working for me. “Sarah” obviously resents my presence and frequently says I don’t have the authority to manage her, even though I clearly do. Her negativity has made my job much more difficult.

    July 15, 2014

  • You are not trusted

    If it seems like employers don’t trust employees - well, they don’t.

    July 15, 2014

  • The Color of Money: Beware of loan-modification scammers

    There are some good things going on in the economy these days. Just like temperatures across the country, the stock market has been hot lately. The economy added 288,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent. Yet there are still plenty of Americans who need financial help, especially with their mortgages.

    July 14, 2014

Business Video
Stocks