Merchant Data Breaches

You may have noticed that many retailers have recently suffered security breaches, resulting in millions of compromised credit and debit card numbers. You might be wondering: How does this happen? Who’s behind it? What can I do to avoid this? We’re here help keep your money and your information safe. So, we’ve got some answers for you!

What exactly is a data security breach?

A data security breach occurs when there’s a chance that sensitive or protected information was viewed or stolen by someone who shouldn't have. They can do this accidentally or intentionally.

How was my account information compromised?

Terminals at retailers can be compromised by hackers, or by malware that’s designed to access customer information. Retailers have anti-malware software, but sometimes the development of new malware outpaces the measures put in place to prevent it.

What do they do with my information?

Your card information is often used to create a counterfeit card. The information can either be used directly by those who compromised the data, or sold to a third party that creates the counterfeit cards. These cards can then be used to make purchases using your funds.

How can I prevent fraud from happening to me?

Since it’s hard to determine where your card information could become compromised, it’s best to keep a close eye on your transactions. If you keep your push notifications turned on, you’ll be immediately notified if an unauthorized transaction occurs. Make sure you’re comfortable with the process of blocking your card so you can take action right away if you see anything suspicious. Your card information can also be compromised when shopping online, so read up on how to stay safe. The Department of Homeland Security and StaySafeOnline have some great tips.

Are my account and routing numbers at risk?

Good news here: nope! Your account and routing numbers are totally separate from your card number, and they are not stored with your card information. Therefore, they’re safe from this type of breach.

What do I do if I see fraudulent transactions?

Immediately block your card via the mobile app or on the ‘Your Card’ page of the website. Then send us a support message or give us a call at 888-248-0632; we’ve got your back! You can get the full scoop about our fraud policy in our fraud protection article.

What is Simple doing to protect my information in the future?

Since the information is compromised while it's being stored with another institution, we're not able to prevent a breach. However, we do actively monitor information surrounding data breaches so we can proactively replace your card and reduce the risk of fraud.

We're also moving towards chip cards (also known as EMV cards). These cards have an embedded microprocessor chip that increases security against certain types of fraud by providing cryptographic technology, data authentication, and transaction unique digital signatures, among other benefits. Basically, current magnetic stripe cards contain static information that can be copied. The information on the EMV chip is dynamic and confirms that the card is authentic at the time of the transaction, making it much harder to copy or duplicate. As more merchants and card issuers move towards EMV cards, merchant data breaches should become rarer.

Will this happen again?

It’s definitely possible, but we do have safeguards in place to limit these breaches when they occur. Don't stress about the possibility; just be alert and remember that we've got your back.

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