Kmart Data Breach: What Financial Institutions Should Do


Data breachAttention Kmart shoppers… By this time we’re all sick of hearing about data breaches. Big retailers are getting hacked, information is getting stolen, it’s like some movie from the 90s come to life. This time, Kmart’s been attacked.

Every time this happens it’s the same story. It can be easy for us to tune it out. Financial institutions need to be on the ball when it comes to communicating the potential dangers of data breaches to their customers. Not only do they need to be able to react to each new breach, they need to make it clear to customers how they can protect themselves.

Institutions must stress the importance of simply paying attention to one’s accounts. Suspicious activity is the number one sign of identity theft. Customers need to know not only what the warning signs are, but how to take action and protect themselves.

There are a lot of ways to communicate these important things to customers; your institution might even have developed protocols for what to do. Make sure you’re following these steps.

1) Update your homepage

These breaches aren’t problems that are going away any time soon, so it’s smart and necessary to put a little work in to find a way to address them. Talk to your web people about a solution for these all too common hacks. It can be something as simple as BIG RED TEXT at the top of the homepage alerting customers that there’s been a data breach at a big retailer and to keep an eye out for suspicious activity.

2) Post about it on your social feeds

The old saying goes, “knowing is half the battle”. Despite the mainstream coverage these situations get, not everyone is going to be aware. You should post on Facebook, Twitter or other social media not only to let customers know what’s going on, but to show that you’re there to help. (As always, be clear that customers should not share personal/account info with you on social media.) Use the channels available to you to let people know what to do.

3) Provide clear, concise answers

Customers will be researching these breaches online. They will be looking for answers. They will ask: “What signs should I look out for? What should I do if I see weird activity? What happens if my identity’s stolen? How do I protect myself?”

Your institution should be able to provide help with a blog or article on your site, branded to you that has the answers people are searching for. Clearly lay out what customers can do if they suspect their information has been compromised.

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