I am sure you have heard of the big Target breach of security where over 40 million customers' credit and debit cards have potentially been compromised.
So, if you shopped at Target between November 27 and December 15, you need to look at any account you used to pay for those items purchased during that time.
If you used a debit card, go to your bank and change your PIN number. If you can't do that, at least check your account and make sure your money is secure and there is no transaction you are not familiar with.
If you paid with a credit card, then your money in your bank account is safe, but you still need to make sure your credit card account does not have any suspicious charges on it.
How can you protect yourself when shopping either online or at retailer stores? My advice, do not buy anything with your debit card because that debit card is tied to your checking account. If someone compromises or steals that debit card number with your PIN, you are out the cash and that cripples you from paying your bills or doing anything.
So protect your cash and use a credit card instead. Think about it - if your credit card gets compromised or stolen, it hurts you if you do not deal with it in a timely manner, but you still have your cash in your checking account.
If you do not have credit cards check out Lowcards.com.
This site will allow you to find a credit card that fits your needs. Even if you have bad credit you can always get a prepaid card that is not tied to your checking account.
This is what you need to avoid. Do not buy with anything that gives criminals access to your cash.
Also, if you do use a credit card, always make sure to pay it off every month. Credit cards can be great tools if you use them right. So protect your money by using someone else's money like the credit card companies.