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How Local Retailer Handles Your Information

January 14, 2014, 10:02 PM by Angela Kennecke

How Local Retailer Handles Your Information
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

The Target data breach is a public relations nightmare for the retailer.  But with news this week that more than just Target was hacked over the holiday season, all retailers are on alert. 

Are these breaches just a part of doing business?  It's something both retailers and consumers are wrestling with.  Some consumers are taking the massive holiday season data breaches in stride. 

"I actually shopped at Target during the time that happened and I haven't had any problem with my card.  They're actually sending me a new card, my bank, free of charge, so I'm not really shy of it at all,” shopper Teresa Hovden said.

Most shoppers may not feel the sting of the hackers, but you can bet banks and retailers are.

"I think we all have to be diligent.  We're all concerned about the use of those cards," Dave Nielsen of Lewis Drug said.

Large corporations may be more vulnerable than smaller ones because of the way they store customers' information. 

"When you see your card go through that little pad, the number is encrypted right at that point and we transmit it directly to the processor. It doesn't go through computers in our main corporate office or that data isn't hung onto for anything," Nielsen said.

Nielsen says that's why Lewis Drug needs to swipe your credit card again when you make a return. 

"That's information we don't want to have any part of, other than at the point of sale," Nielsen said.

Now you've probably heard of doing away with the magnetic strip system in favor of a chip in your credit card.  But retailers say even if they go to the expense of replacing all the equipment at the cash registers, they're worried that hackers will even overcome that as well. 

“If you go one direction, it seems like the bad guys are trying to figure out a way around it," Nielsen said.

Lewis says the payment card industry requires its stores to undergo security audits. But not all customers are reassured. 

Angela Kennecke: Will you use your card?
Shopper Alex Kinsman: No.
Kennecke: So what do you do then?
Kinsman: I just pull out money before I come in.
Kennecke: Cash?
Kinsman: Mmhmm.

“I think all retailers, including those who've been hacked, are doing everything they can to keep it from happening, but there are people out there trying to make our lives and the consumers' lives miserable," Nielsen said. 

You may also want to be careful with online retailers.  Usually there is an option to check if you want your credit card number stored for future purchases, but that can also leave it vulnerable to hackers.

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