Malicious Software and Hack places 100+ million at risk of identity theft

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After being alerted by Visa and MasterCard of suspicious activity surrounding processed card transactions, Heartland Payment Systems discovered a data breach that could top 100 million credit and debit cards -though there isn't a definitive tally yet. The company released news of this data breach yesterday -while all eyes were on the celebrations in D.C.

It would appear by the numerous articles reporting the breach that this was some sort of malware induced incident at one of the largest payment processors that happens to be one of the largest in the country. Heartland is headquartered in Princeton, NJ and handles approximately 100 million transactions a month -though the number of unique cardholders is much lower.

Many find it suspicious that the company reported this large data breach when the media and all of us were watching the Inauguration -but the truth is, identity theft and corporate and governmental data losses occur daily.

Having safeguards in place before a data breach occurs -will go a long way in reducing the effects of an identity theft. 

Unfortunately, the increase of "reported" data breaches continues to point to just how little control we really have over our own information these days. But the good news is we do have control over whether or not we choose to worry about it! 

Regardless of how a data breach occurs, choosing to hire professionals to safeguard your identity and restore it if stolen, is an option that millions of us have opted for -and for good reason.

Recovering from an identity theft can be a daunting task. With continued reports of widespread identity theft and reports of growing data loss incidents, I find both peace of mind and value having someone ready, willing and able to step in on my behalf.

When thinking of the common scenario that usually plays out when a data breach occurs; personal data is hacked, stolen and then sold to multiple thieves in underground chat rooms, who then decide to commit other crimes, empty bank accounts, apply for credit, obtain housing, cell phones, cars or employment, all by using that stolen information, who would want to left with that mess and go it alone?

Having safeguards in place, before you learn your information may have been compromised in a breach, and before an identity theft occurs, is vital -and key to reducing the impact.

Whether it be placing fraud alerts, freezing your credit, or hiring services like LifeLock as I did, prior to being notified of a data theft, will save you immeasurable time, money and boatloads of frustrations down the road.

One thing is for sure, if you don't get a hold of your identity -someone else will!

Think you might be affected by a Data Breach?

Take proactive measures to lessen the impact of an identity theft -before the worst occurs!

See earlier tips & blogs:

 Are you one of millions to be notified your data has been stolen?

Do you know what Steps to Take...?

For more information on the Heartland breach, the company has set up a website to address questions at

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