There was a time when cash was king, yet for most of us, paying with plastic is the norm. But a year ago this week, we saw just how vulnerable our accounts can be in the wake of the Target data breach. 40 million cards were compromised.
William J. Kresse, an assistant professor at Governors State University and an expert on fraud and identity theft, says the breach was "up to that point, the biggest ever."
So what's changed since then? Has the Target hack shifted the landscape of consumer security?
Kresse says the retail industry has been forced to rethink data protection.
"If 2014 was the year of the hack, 2015 will be the year of chip and PIN card," Kresse says. "All of your credit cards are going to get replaced in the next few months."
Chip and PIN cards, Kresse explains, don't prevent the stealing of credit card numbers, but they do make it much more difficult for thieves to reuse them -- and so steal your money.
Replacing "three-quarters of a billion" credit cards in the United States is going to be expensive. Some estimates put the cost of a replacement card at one dollar per card. But, Kresse says, "this is a cost that the credit card companies, the retailers and the banks are willing to take on just because they need this added level of security."
This is part of Take Two's series on consumer security. Have you been the victim of card fraud or identity theft? How did it impact you? How have you changed your spending or online habits to reduce the chances of it happening again? We'd like to hear your story. Leave a comment on our Facebook page or here. Find out how you can protect yourself against identity theft here.