Michaels security breach: 4 key ways to keep your information safe from thieves

There's more information coming out about that security breach at Michael's stores.
 
The breach went on undetected for eight months, from May of last year until January.
 
Three million customers were affected.
 
Michael's says personal information like names and addresses were not stolen. But, they say some credit and debit card information was exposed.
 
The only way to fully protect yourself from these breaches, is to just use cash.
 
But for a lot of us, that's not going to happen. 
 
So here's what I'm doing.
 
I' m putting away my debit card except to take out cash from ATM's.
 
That way, at least thieves can't get directly into my bank account.
 
Instead, I'm using a credit card with a small credit limit.
 
If it is breached, thieves can only get so much money.
 
And most credit card companies aren't going to charge you anything if fraud is involved.
 
I'm also opting out of all unsolicited credit card and insurance offers I get in the mail.
 
You can do that by going to www.optoutprescreen.com
 
I'll continue going to AnnualCreditReport.com and getting 3 free credit reports each year, one from each credit bureau.
 
I spread them out, checking one every four months for accounts opened that I don't recognize or other strange inquires.
 
If I did shop at Michaels in the last year, I'd also consider putting a security freeze on my credit. 
 
That puts a lock on your credit information so no one can check your credit file. 
 
It prevents thieves from being able to open new accounts. 
 
Now, I wouldn't do it if I'm about to apply for a loan.  
 
Also, there is a small cost involved, but you can lift the freeze when you want.
 
Again, if you're going to use credit, as most of us do, nothing is 100% effective.
 
But these measures should help.
 
E-mail me with any consumer issue you have or "like" my Let Joe Know Facebook page and tell me about it there.
 
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