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What Are Credit Card Hackers?

Hackers break into computers or computer networks for a variety of reasons. Some do it illegally for profit, some are paid to do it legally, and others simply do it for the challenge. Credit card hackers, however, do their dirty deed with only one thing in mind—stealing your credit card information to make money. Ever heard of Lush, the handmade cosmetic company that sells all sorts of interesting bath and shower products?

Their UK website was recently hacked and may have exposed the credit card information of every customer that purchased a product online between October 2010 and January 2011.

Once customers started posting on Lush's Facebook page that their stolen credit cards had been used to make unauthorized purchases, the company eventually decided to shut down the entire UK site and issue an email on January 21st notifying everyone that was potentially exposed to the breach. Of course, Lush isn't the first retailer to fall victim to hackers. In recent years, major companies including TJX, BJ's, OfficeMax, and others have all dealt with similar security breaches.

What we've learned is that no matter how big an organization is or how secure it thinks its systems might be, there's a good chance someone out there can still breach it with a little effort. So, if no one else can protect your information, what can you do to protect yourself? Ditch the debit card and always use a credit card when shopping online. Even if your card information is stolen and used to make an unauthorized purchase, your credit issuer will work with you to quickly cancel the old card and issue a new one, while the most you could be held liable for is $50. That said, most credit issuers won't hold you accountable for a single penny of a fraudulent charge.

Debit cards, on the other hand, won't afford you the same zero-liability protection. In addition, it's always a good idea to check your credit cards online at least once a week. Login to your account, quickly scan over your purchases for the week and make sure nothing looks out of the ordinary. If anything does look strange, be sure to immediately contact your credit issuer's fraud department and report the questionable charges.

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Elisabeth Chan's picture

Elisabeth Chan is Creditnet's resident credit card expert. Elisabeth graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business.

When she's not rating and reviewing credit cards, Elisabeth enjoys gushing over her daughter (who is her exact clone), eating out (sushi and Chinese are favs), or attempting to conquer the pilates reformer machine (so far, all attempts have been futile).

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Ryan Jones's picture

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Ryan Jones

Financial Writer & Consultant
Your Personal Finance 101
Email: ryan @ yourpersonalfinance101.com